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KRG should pay salary in full once Baghdad sends budget: MP

  2021-05-16  | 
 Zhyan News Network
Council of Representatives lawmaker Shirwan Mirza speaks to Zhyan News Network in Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq, May 15,2021. Photo by Zhyan News Network/ Screengrab
 Zhyan News Network

SULAIMANI – Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) should pay public sector in full once the federal government starts sending budget transfers to the Kurdistan Region, a Kurdish lawmaker from Iraq's Council of Representatives said. 

“According to federal budget law, salary cuts should not remain. Enough money will come from Baghdad that suffices salary payments in full,” Shirwan Mirza told Zhyan News Network on Saturday (May 15).

“The money coming from Baghdad should be prioritized for salary,” he said, noting the federal budget law should be put into effect retrospectively from the outset of the year. 

“Whenever Iraq compensates the salary pays of the Region’s previous months, the Region should compensate for the 21 percent cuts owed to the public servants.”

The cash-strapped KRG still struggles to pay its public servants in full. It cut off salary by 21 percent in the first four months of 2021. 

On April 31, Iraq's Council of Representative passed the belated budget bill after the Kurdish and federal authorities reached an agreement. 

The passage of the law has filled the public servants in the Region with hopes it may lead to an end to salary cuts scheme. 

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.

Baghdad is yet to send the first budget transfer to the Kurdistan Region.

“Only technical problems have remained in the way of the implementation of the budget agreement between the [Kurdistan] Region and Baghdad,” Mirza said, noting a delegation from the KRG Ministry of Natural Resources is supposed to visit Baghdad to work out the technical obstacles with its federal counterpart within the Iraqi oil ministry. 

“The KRG should submit cash for 250,000 barrels of oil to Baghdad in the [market] prices of SOMO,” he said, referring to Iraq’s oil marketer State Oi Marketing Organization. 

The amount of non-oil incomes Erbil should hand over to Baghdad will be determined by delegations from the KRG and federal finance ministries, the lawmaker further said. 

“Despite tangible coolness by both sides, but both sides are expected to commit to it [the agreement] as we are approaching to elections.”

Iraq to hold an early parliamentary election on October 16. 

KRG will receive 13.9 percent share from the estimated at 129 Iraqi dinars trillion ($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 commitments. 

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. It paid March and April salaries by 21 percent.

Striking a pessimistic tone, another Kurdish lawmaker said a few days ago that "the sections related to the Kurdistan Region’s budget share in the 2021 Iraqi budget law are not applicable." 

(Zhyan English)