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Salary cuts, budget share top priorities in KRG delegation visit: MP

  2021-05-31  | 
 Zhyan News Network
Logos of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Government of Iraq Graphic by Zhyan News Network
 Zhyan News Network

SULAIMANI – Kurdistan Region’s salary cuts to public sector employees and budget shares from Baghdad are main topics of a visit by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) delegation in Baghdad, as the latter is yet to send the first budget transfer to the Region two months after the passage of the Iraqi budget law.

In late March, Iraq passed its belated budget law for 2021 following agreements between the Kurdish and federal authorities.

The approval of the budget law filled the Region’s civil servants with hopes it would put an end to salary cuts and delays imposed by the KRG for over a year.

The KRG has paid the salary of the first five months by 21 percent cuts. Baghdad transfers is crucial for the KRG to be able to pay salary in full.

On Sunday, a delegation led by KRG Deputy Prime Minister arrived in Baghdad for negotiations on the details of the implementation of the budget law, KRG Representative in Baghdad Faris Essa said. 

Samir Hawrami, Adviser to Talabani, told Iraqi al-Sabaah newspaper that, “The [Kurdistan] Regional Government announced its full readiness to implement the budget law and to abide by all its provisions.”

Also on Monday, both finance ministers of the KRG and the federal government showed their readiness to abide by the provisions of the Iraqi budget law for 2021 passed in late March after they met, reported by Zhyan News Network reporter Ali Omar in Baghdad. 

"The visit aims to discuss the reasons for the delay in implementing the budget, especially since the Region suffers from major economic problems and the failure to implement the budget law,” Iraqi parliament lawmaker Rezan Sheikh Dler said.

Striking a pessimistic tone, another Kurdish lawmaker, Muslim Abdullah, doubted the visit will bear fruits.

"The visit will not bring anything new, and it will be like the previous visits, because the Regional government has no intention to deliver the oil to Baghdad,” Muslim added. 

The cash-strapped KRG will receive 13.9 percent share from an estimated 129 trillion Iraqi dinars ($89 billion) budget if it obeys its obligations in the budget law. 

Unlike the previous years, the KRG will not get any share if it fails to live up to its commitment.

Throughout 2020, the KRG missed five months’ worth of salaries to its public servants and paid one in full and slashed others by either eighteen or twenty-one percent citing the COVID-19 pandemic, budget with Baghdad and low oil prices. 

(Zhyan English)