Officials in Diyala province unveiled a plan to conduct new service projects across the province, seeking to improve public services among all residents.
The provincial council approved the projects earlier this month.
"We drafted a plan that calls for distributing projects equitably to cover all districts and sub-districts in the province, so there will be no priority given to one area over the other because all suffer from a lack of services," said Diyala governor Hisham al-Hayyali.
He said the 2012 public budget for Diyala province is 320 billion dinars ($275 million), the largest in the province's history. In addition to money retained from previous years, this puts the total budget at more than 450 billion dinars ($386 million).
Earlier this month, the provincial council approved the implementation of 415 service projects at a cost of 315 billion dinars ($270 million), al-Hayyali told Mawtani.
"The province will focus on preventing any abuses or financial corruption by the companies executing the projects," he said. "The administration intends to follow up on the companies' work and will impose tough measures to fight such practices if they occur."
Al-Hayyali said officials will warn companies that demonstrate lack of capacity or efficiency in implementing projects.
If they do not complete these projects in accordance with contract terms, Diyala will withdraw the work from them, he said.
"The companies that fail to win the provincial administration's trust will be placed on a blacklist and will not be given any work in the future," he said. "The companies that complete the projects are likely to win future projects."
In July, the Diyala administration made several decisions regarding delays by companies responsible for service projects. Officials withdrew projects from two companies and issued final warnings to seven others. Earlier in May, four companies were blacklisted, al-Hayyali said.
"The projects will be spread among the districts and sub-districts in accordance with population density," said Talib Mohammad, chairman of the Diyala provincial council.
"Our objective is to improve services in Diyala in order to deliver appropriate services to its residents," he said. "We decided to engage the citizens to give us their suggestions and present their grievances, so that everyone can give their best to the province and its residents."
Mohammad said he believes the projects to be implemented will achieve much for the province and its people in terms of economic relief and service.
Turath al-Azzawi, director of the province's media relations office, said "Diyala province sustained serious damage to most of its infrastructure in recent years because terrorist groups used some areas as their hideouts where they carried out terrorist operations."
"The proportion of damage to infrastructure reached 80%, making it necessary to begin a large scale reconstruction programme in all service sectors," he said.
Al-Azzawi said the projects scheduled for implementation include building new roads such as a circular road spanning from the western part of Baqubah to its southern area, which will alleviate traffic jams.
The projects also include improving water, sewage and electricity infrastructure in the province, which officials hope will ease some of the hardship on citizens who lack such services, he said, adding that other projects involve paving roads and sidewalks and constructing health clinics.
Meanwhile, Hussein al-Dulaimi, a member of the Diyala municipal council, welcomed the new projects.
"Diyala is experiencing major progress, implementing service projects in the province's outlying areas in an unprecedented way," he said.
"There were important projects carried out throughout the past few months under the 2011 budget, and others which are still on-going under the 2012 budget," Dulaimi said.
"What is reassuring is that citizens in the province will see a positive change in services," he said.