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KRG PM does not promise public servants to pay salary without cut

  2021-04-07  | 
 Zhyan News Network
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani speaks to reporters in Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq, April 7,2021. Photo by KRG
 Zhyan News Network

SULAIMANI – Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani said on Wednesday (April 7) that his cabinet is waiting on cash transfers from Baghdad to know whether the KRG can pay salary to its employees with or without cuts.

In 2020, the Barzani’s KRG cabinet withheld five monthly pays and slashed others by 21 or 18 percent cuts to purportedly fight low oil prices, the COVID-19 pandemic and budget rows with the central government with Baghdad.

“We are waiting for the Baghdad’s money to know if we can pay salary with or without cuts in the future,” Barzani said at a press conference. 

On March 31, Iraq's Council of Representative passed the belated budget bill after several delays in recent months and disputes among the political blocs, especially between the Kurdistan KRG and the federal authority.

The budget’s article 11 stipulates that the KRG should abide by its obligations to hand over not less than 250,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) and an amount of non-oil incomes to the federal authority to receive 13.9 percent share from the estimated at 129 Iraqi dinars trillion ($89 billion) budget.

“This budget was an accommodation — it doesn’t address all the hopes of either party. Our principal win is the continued protection and reinforcement of our constitutional rights,” Barzani said. “We are declaring our commitment to the federal government and waiting for the federal government to commit to the Kurdistan Region’s share.”

The premier said that the recent accord with Baghdad and obligations to repay pre-existing debt will put pressure on the public coffer, but his cabinet will “prioritize” to distribute salary to public sector workers. 

Barzani also said that the KRG will send its own budget bill to the Kurdistan Parliament soon as the latter has not passed a budget since 2013. 

The question remains if the KRG will commit to its obligations within the budget law so that to receive its budget share. 

(Zhyan English)