December 1, 2020 | government

KRG will deliver civil sector salaries regardless of receiving budget share from Baghdad: spokesperson


ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) will pay civil servants their salaries “soon” regardless if Baghdad sends the autonomous region its budget share or not, the government’s spokesperson says.

If Baghdad refuses to send the Kurdistan Region its share of the federal budget, “it will not be a reason for a further delay in salaries,” KRG spokesperson Jutiar Adil told Rudaw on Sunday.

The KRG has failed to deliver October salaries to public employees on its payroll after Baghdad refused to send Kurdistan Region’s budget share for the months of October and November upon the recent passing of a controversial fiscal deficit bill.

“We have sent a letter to the federal government about when they will be sending the 320 billion Iraqi dinars (the Kurdistan Region’s share of the federal budget),” Adil told Rudaw’s Shaho Amin. “We will wait a few days for their response.”

“We are well aware that the further delay of salaries is not in the benefit of the people of the Kurdistan Region, for they are struggling financially,” he added. “It was the [KRG] Prime Minister’s orders that salaries should be paid regardless of Baghdad sending the 320 billion dinars ($268 million US dollars) or not.”

He further stated that the KRG is “abiding by the requirements of sending over 250 thousand barrels of oil daily and along that 50 percent of border crossing revenues.”

On November 12, Iraqi parliament passed the Fiscal Deficit Coverage Bill that allowed for the borrowing of 12 trillion Iraqi dinars (10 billion USD) from the central bank in an attempt to cover the fiscal deficit and pay civil sector for the last two months of this year.

The bill passed with a majority vote, despite a walk out by Kurdish MPs after arguments over special requirements for the Kurdistan Region to hand over an unspecified amount of oil revenue to Baghdad in return for its monthly share of the federal budget.

Adil noted that the KRG will abide by the Iraqi budget law despite their firm disagreement with it.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi met with Deputy Parliament Speaker Basheer Haddad on November 26 to discuss the Kurdistan Region’s share of the federal budget, promising to deliver October salaries for Kurdistan Region civil servants.

The PM’s promise caused major backlash from members of the Sairoon alliance, led by the influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, and the Nasr coalition led by former Iraqi PM Haidar al-Abadi.

“The prime minister cannot send over that money to the Kurdistan Region,” the Nasr Coalition’s Falah Abdulkareem told Rudaw. “If he does, he will be sued.”

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani criticized the decision to pass the law in a November 15 press conference, claiming it was Baghdad’s “biggest failure in administrating this country.”

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