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Baghdad’s 200bn IQD payment is not part of budget law: Kadhimi

  2021-06-25  | 
 Zhyan News Network
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi speaks during an interview with Al Iraqiya TV channel in Baghdad, Iraq. The interview was aired on June 24,2021. Photo by Iraqi Prime Minister Media Office
 Zhyan News Network

SULAIMANI – Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said that the Iraqi federal government will send 200 billion Iraqi dinars ($136,963) to the Kurdistan Region as an advanced payment for public sector salary, saying the cash is not within the framework of the Iraqi budget law for 2021.

"The Kurdish people are our people, and what we paid is an advance for the purpose of paying the salaries of the Region’s employees,” Kadhimi said during an interviewed broadcast on state-run Al Iraqiya TV channel.

The Iraqi premier said that the funding is not part of the Iraqi budget law and will be deducted from the Kurdistan Region’s share after the Federal Board of Supreme Audit finishes its calculations into the Region’s incomes. 

On June 15, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and several Kurdish lawmakers announced that a new deal had been made with the federal government for the transfer of 200 billion IQD cash each month to the Region starting retroactively from the outset of 2021.

The Iraqi finance and integrity committees and several Shia lawmakers stood up against the transfer, citing it is against the provision of the budget law.

On Thursday, member of the Iraqi parliament’s Finance Committee Ahmad Haji Rashed played down the funding in a Facebook post, saying the KRG should pay $630,000 million to Baghdad under obligations in accordance with the provisions of Article 11 and 12 within the budget law for the past six months. 

“There is an attempt that the money will not be sent to the Kurdistan Region,” Kadhimi said. “That attempt by some political parties aims to oppose to the Kurdistan Region to draw attention of their supporters for electoral campaign." the Iraqi prime minister said.

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

Baghdad has not sent a budget transfer to the Region as of yet.

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.

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. 

The KRG finance ministry said on Wednesday that it would start distributing June pay by twenty-one cuts starting on Friday and Saturday with the public sector employees within the health ministry, but it did not reveal a timetable for others ministries and boards

The KRG also paid January, February, March, April, May by the same cut in spite of rises in crude oil prices and the devaluation of the Iraqi dinars against the US dollars by over 25 percent.

Head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) bloc in the Kurdistan Parliament Zia Jabbar told one of his party affiliated media that “the economic crisis has passed and salary cuts should be finalized.”

“The salary cuts and withholding were illegal and were not depended on law, other than it was according to the Council of Ministers’ decisions and instructions,” Jabbar said told PUK Media.

(Zhyan English)b