Council of Ministers convenes over relations with Baghdad
Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (GOV.KRD) - Prime Minister Masrour Barzani today chaired a cabinet meeting to discuss ongoing budget issues with the Federal Government and related to public service wages.
Joined by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, the Prime Minister reaffirmed the government’s commitment to improving the living conditions of all those in the Kurdistan Region, and that every effort will be made to disburse public service salaries using available resources.
The Kurdistan Regional Government knows that many who are currently struggling rely on these wages to provide for their families, and it will continue to protect the livelihoods and living conditions of the people of Kurdistan.
The Prime Minister also underscored that the government will continue to defend the Kurdistan Region’s financial entitlements, which are enshrined in the constitution, and exhaust all avenues to negotiate a fair and comprehensive agreement with Baghdad.
The Prime Minister noted that he has been in regular contact with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Kadhimi over these unresolved issues. In response, Prime Minister Kadhimi has vowed to resolve budgetary disputes in the coming days. In the interim, the Kurdistan Regional Government is falling back on the use of loans to pay public service employees and compensate for the deficit caused by Baghdad failing to provide Erbil its share of the federal budget. Once federal funds are received, they will be used to pay off the debt.
Following an exchange of views on the matter, the Prime Minister tasked the Ministry of Finance and Economy to begin disbursing public sector wages for the month of October starting December 3. The current budget will use available funds to cover 79 percent of people’s salaries.
The Cabinet agreed for the High-level Committee on Baghdad Relations to return to Baghdad in the near future and resume in person dialogue over outstanding issues, notably budgetary disputes.
Deputy Prime Minister Talabani also presented a report on ongoing efforts to study fees received in the delivery of public services, and urged departments to promptly submit data on their revenues and expenses for a restructuring of fees and spending.
In addition, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Kwestan Mohamed, submitted a bill on allowances for those with disabilities, which the Cabinet unanimously approved.