Kurds finally happy with Iraqi budget; vote expected today

Kurds finally happy with Iraqi budget; vote expected today

2019/01/23 | 18:30 - Source: Rudaw

(ThisDay | Iraq News Now)-

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Kurdistan Region lawmakers in Baghdad have succeeded in insulating the salaries of civil servants and Peshmerga from political disputes in the draft Iraqi budget. “I can say that what has been allocated for Kurds is acceptable and good.

What is important is we were able to insulate the salary of the civil servants and the Peshmerga from political disputes,” Bashir Haddad, second deputy speaker of the parliament and member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), told Rudaw.The budget bill stipulates that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) export 250,000 barrels of oil per day through Iraq’s state oil marketing company SOMO and hand over all federal revenues to the central treasury.“If [the KRG] doesn’t commit, then [the Iraqi government] will cut a part of the budget for investments and projects proportional to that amount,” Haddad explained. “This, however, won’t affect sending funds for salaries of employees and Peshmerga,” he added. Budget disputes have played out for months with Kurds and Sunnis both unhappy with the original draft.

Most of their observations have been addressed, but not all, said Haddad. A final draft of the bill should now be ready for lawmakers to approve.

The parliament is scheduled to vote on it today.

The session, however, has been delayed six hours. The speaker delayed the session to 7pm Wednesday “to give MPs time to revise and audit the 2019 federal budget bill,” Ahmed Haji Rasheed, member of the parliamentary finance committee, told Rudaw.He confirmed that the budget bill stipulates salaries of the Region’s employees and Peshmerga won’t be cut if the KRG fails to deliver its 250,000 barrels of oil.The parliament is also expected to vote for two more ministers – education and justice. With reporting from Halkawt Aziz. 

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