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Volume 454: debated on Monday 11 December 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress has been made by the UK in the rehabilitation and development of infrastructure in Basra Province since 2003; and if he will make a statement. (104858)

DFID has been on the ground delivering programmes in Basra Province since theend of the conflict in 2003. We have already spentĀ£118 million on economic development and reconstruction projects in southern Iraq. Achievements to date include:

Immediate infrastructure repairs to increase water supplyby up to 30 per cent. and improve the electricity supply to1.5 million residents in Basra.

Repairs to local power stations which so far have added or secured 350 megawatts, equivalent to 24 hours electricity supply for 700,000 people.

Training for 60 agricultural directorate staff and 3,000 people in business/enterprise skills.

200 technical staff at the Basra Water Directorate employees learning how to maintain and repair their water infrastructure in the training centre constructed this March.

Created more than 400,000 days of work through our construction projects.

In addition, we have also helped the Provincial Councils to produce development plans, designed to helping the Iraqis to prioritise activity, unlock the substantial Iraqi funds available (around US$300 million in 2007) for reconstruction projects in the south and get the resources flowing to the provinces. This is a long term challenge, but progress is being made. The Basra Council is already putting this strategy into action by implementing over 220 projects to repair water and sewage infrastructure, and improve roads and electricity supplies. Together with other donors, such as the Australians, Japanese, United Nations (UN) and the World Bank, we need to continue to support the Government of Iraq, at both national and provincial levels, to turn Iraqi resources into viable projects so that local people can see real progress.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which UK companies are working on regeneration in Iraq; and in what part of the country each is working. (105615)

The redevelopment of the essential infrastructure and economy in Iraq is vital for the progress of the country and its people. British companies have already played a pivotal role in rebuilding Iraq in several sectors, including power generation and transmission, water and sanitation, and oil and gas. We are aware of more than 70 major contracts and sub-contracts awarded to UK companies. Further information can be obtained on the UK Trade and Investment website: