SULAIMANI – Seventeen members of the Kurdistan Parliament on Tuesday (April 6) delivered a petition to the legislative presidency demanding an end to the ongoing different austerity measures imposed by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
The KRG installed several austerity measures in 2016, which have yet remained in effect, to purportedly fight an economic and financial crisis in a bid to save some cash to pay its bloated wage bill, such as a suspension to permanent employment.
“Time has come to end salary cuts. After the inclusion the Kurdistan Region’s budget share in the draft 2021 Federal Budget Law, no justification is left to cut salaries of employees,” a member of Kurdistan Parliament Ashna Abdulla said in a post on her official Facebook account attaching a copy of the petition signed by 17 MPs.
Iraq’s Council of Representatives on Wednesday (March 31) voted on the belated draft 2021 Federal Budget Law into law outlining the Kurdistan Region’s budget share which was increased to 13.9 percent.
“We collected enough signatures asked the parliament presidency to discuss austerity measures during a session scheduled for tomorrow,” said Abdulla.
In February, the KRG decided to log all the salaries withheld in 2020 from public sector employees as debts, likewise several salaries it did not pay in 2016 and 2017.
The KRG started withholding salaries in 2016 following the budget freeze by the federal government and the recapture of the disputed oil-rich governorate of Kirkuk by the federal security forces that reduced almost 60 percent of its capacity to export oil.
The KRG distributed five salaries last year, four were slashed by eighteen and twenty percent. The withheld salaries were for April, May, June, July, August, November and December, according to a written document signed by the Finance and Economy Affairs Minister Awat Janab on February 23.
The public servants always wonder how and when their unpaid salaries are paid following the rise of the global oil prices.
The current cabinet headed by Prime Minister Masrour Barzani sounded an upbeat mood at the outset of this year that it would pay its public servants in 30 days and make abundant job opportunities in the private sector.