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Readout of PM Masrour Barzani press conference on recent budget deal

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (GOV.KRD) – Prime Minister Masrour Barzani today announced that the Kurdistan Regional Government will be taking immediate steps to implement the 2021 federal budget bill, and called on the federal government to follow through with its commitments to the people of the Kurdistan Region.

“The passing of the budget during such a turbulent time is a tremendous achievement for the people of Kurdistan and Iraq. Political challenges in Iraq in particular made the process drawn out and complicated, but ultimately the will of the people prevailed.

“Our negotiating team worked tirelessly with the Federal Government of Iraq and representatives in Baghdad, and proved that obstacles can be overcome through political dialogue. We believe this budget is balanced, and protects the interests of all parties. We are grateful to the Kurdistan Regional Government's negotiating team for delivering on the Council of Ministers’ decisions and recommendations. We thank the presidents of both the Kurdistan Region and Iraq for their efforts to repair the process. And we thank all political parties in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq, the venerable parliamentarians in Erbil and Baghdad, and all officials involved for their joint efforts in passing this budget bill and supporting the Kurdistan Regional Government’s delegation.

"I want to personally thank President Nerchivan Barzani, whose personal relationship with numerous political officials proved to be an important aid to discussions regarding the 2021 budget bill.

“The true test of the parliament’s wisdom will now be for the different administrations and authorities to implement the budget bill in the service of the people. Today, the Kurdistan Regional Government began developing its roadmap for the implementation of the bill, and reaffirmed its commitment to the citizens of the Kurdistan Region.

“We believe the budget bill should be retroactive and cover the period from January 1 2021, so we are hopeful the Iraqi federal government will fulfill its obligations and provide the monthly salaries to public sector employees of the Kurdistan Region from January to March. We have asked all ministries of the Kurdistan Regional Government to begin preparations for the new fiscal year.

“We remain committed to our obligations in the 2021 federal budget bill and will continue to work with the Federal Government of Iraq in a mutually beneficial manner.

“The Kurdistan Regional Government’s delegation stands ready to travel to Baghdad and resume dialogue to identify a path forward in resolving other outstanding issues while building on the success of the 2021 federal budget bill.”

UNSC Resolution 688 and No-Fly Zone

“Thirty years ago, the world bore witness to the perseverance of the people of Kurdistan through the oppression and atrocities to which they were subjected. With the backing of the world’s leading nations, the UN Security Council resolution 688 paved the way for a No-Fly Zone and a safe haven for those wishing to escape the Iraqi regime, which allowed for the creation of the Kurdistan Region as we know it. The existence of the Kurdistan Region was formally enshrined in the Iraqi constitution, thanks to the will and determination of the Kurdistani people and the support of our allies and the UN.

“I want to express our appreciation for the help and cooperation at that time, and the ongoing support to the people of the Kurdistan Region and Iraq to overcome these trying times. We hope that this spirit of cooperation will extend to all parties, and that we will continue to find strength in working together with the international coalition to confront the threats of terrorism and the current financial crisis.”

World Health Day

"Today is International Health Day, a day to honour our doctors, nurses, and health workers, and to recognise their sacrifices as they continue to work on the frontlines to combat the spread of COVID-19 and keep our people safe and well. On behalf of everyone, I want to express our gratitude to our healthcare teams, and ask that the people of Kurdistan continue to support them by protecting themselves and following the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Interior.

“The government alone cannot prevent the effects of the pandemic, so we ask the people of Kurdistan to take this disease seriously and to think about their safety and that of their loved ones to help us stop the spread the virus. Many of our friends and family have died, and we must honour their memories by protecting ourselves. We strongly encourage all those who are able to take the coronavirus vaccine, which is now widely available across the Kurdistan Region, and to continue following health measures.

"The Kurdistan Regional Government will be increasing access to the vaccine and administering it at a faster rate to allow a return to normal while safeguarding the lives and health of our citizens. The coronavirus has not yet been defeated and we urge people to take this global pandemic very seriously, to protect their loved ones, follow health guidelines, and get vaccinated so that we can prevent further deaths and avoid additional lockdowns.”

Kurdistan Regional Government Duties

“The Kurdistan Regional Government will continue to fulfill its duties and ensure that we can, to the best of our ability, provide for the people of the Kurdistan Region, deliver high quality services and improve our standard of living. This includes concerted efforts to provide salaries to public sector employees in a timely and reliable fashion, as well as reduce debt to alleviate the burden on the Kurdistan Regional Government’s finances, all of which was captured in the 2021 federal budget bill.

“We will do our best to provide wages to our employees while working to diversify and increase public sector revenues through our ambitious reform plan. We will continue to work to lower our expenses and generate new income to provide more and better services to the people of Kurdistan.”

Kurdistan Regional Government Budget

“A significant portion of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s 2021 budget includes financial entitlements disbursed by the federal government. Due to delays with the Iraqi federal budget the Kurdistan Region’s budget bill is still pending, but it will be tabled in the Kurdistan Parliament as soon as possible.

“The Kurdistan Regional Government has three sources of income: Financial entitlements allocated by the federal government, oil revenues, and non-oil revenues. Our income and expenditures are now public, and our budget will have to be realistic, which will require our spending to be within our means. Our priority will be to provide salaries and to move ahead with the ninth cabinet’s reform agenda to modernize and diversify the Kurdistan Region’s economy.”

Implementing Budget Agreements

“We are acting in good faith and, despite our previous disappointments, we believe that the Federal Government of Iraq will fulfill its obligations and commitments to the people of Kurdistan. It is our hope that with the passing of the budget bill we will be able to address the lapsed salary disbursements for January, February, and March 2021.

“We urge the Iraqi Federal Government to include the first three months of this year in the budget calculations and clarify those payment dues. We are here to tell Iraq, Kurdistan, and the world that the Kurdistan Regional Government is ready to play its part in the matter and to be held accountable by the people. We hope the Iraqi Government is similarly committed.

“We remain grateful that an agreement was reached, for the benefit of all the people of Kurdistan and Iraq, and we thank those who have been involved since the start, such as President Barzani, who worked tirelessly to make this happen.”

8th Hasarok land development

“The Kurdistan Regional Government is working to resolve issues related to the 8th Hasarok neighbourhood, which are pressing. We have spoken with the Governor of Erbil to find a path forward with the area’s existing development and services project. To avoid any losses I have assigned the relevant parties to the case.”


“I appreciate the work of all parliamentarians who are fighting against public sector salary cuts. However, I reiterate that the government determined that it was more beneficial to the people of Kurdistan to ensure they received salaries regularly despite current financial constraints due to existing obligations toward the Trade Bank of Iraq, SOMO, and the federal government. We have consistently argued that the amount of financial entitlements the Kurdistan Region should receive should take into consideration the Kurdistan Regional Government’s revenues minus its current financial obligations to the federal government.

“We ask the federal government to take this point into serious consideration and send the region’s financial entitlements in full and on time.”

Coronavirus Health Measures

“Our High Committee for Combatting COVID-19 is working hard every day to make decisions to protect the health and safety of the people of Kurdistan against the coronavirus. However, the most important thing remains for the people to play their part and understand their responsibility when it comes to public health and the wellbeing of everyone.”

Baghdad – Washington Strategic Discussion

“We believe that Iraq still faces serious terror threats, including from ISIS, and it is important for us to remain allies. We will continue to contribute to the discussion and offer our advice and support in how best to tackle these threats to regional security.”

The Ninth Cabinet and the Reform Process

“The Kurdistan Regional Government is still progressing with its reforms but is adjusting to two new destabilising world factors: The global pandemic and economic downturn. Some adjustments have been made at the border crossings to help tackle these financial challenges while ensuring they follow the Kurdistan Regional Government’s health guidelines.

“We continue to manage the unnecessary obstacles resulting from the federal government’s failure to send the Kurdistan Region’s financial entitlements for the past 10 months, and through our reforms we have been able to open the door to private sector investment in public sector service delivery.”

Kurdistani Areas

“The situation in Kurdish areas outside the Kurdistan Regional Government’s administration remains of concern. We have raised this issue with the federal government, highlighting the need to apply Article 140 of the constitution. The Iraqi federal government, to this day, has yet to implement this article. However, we are ready to work on this together and urge that joint measures are taken immediately, such as a coordination body between Peshmerga and Iraqi forces, to confront terrorist threats in those areas. Unfortunately, the other party has yet to come forward with a similar offer.”

Shingal Agreement

“Another worrisome situation is in Shingal, where the Shingal Agreement has yet to be implemented despite a mutual understanding with Baghdad. Some parties continue to block the implementation of a number of points on which Erbil and Baghdad were in full agreement.

“I would like to remind everyone that these initiatives between Erbil and Baghdad are undertaken in the interests of all Iraqi peoples, not those of a single people.”