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Council of Ministers discusses financial reports of the year’s first six months

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (GOV.KRD) - The Kurdistan Region Council of Ministers on Wednesday held its weekly meeting led by Prime Minister Masrour Barzani.

Opening the meeting, the Minister of the Interior briefed the Council on a report regarding developments in plans for gun control following a decree from Prime Minister Barzani to close down gun markets and seize unregistered weapons across the Region.

The Minister addressed the measures taken in the Ministry of Interior to implement the Kurdistan Region’s new Weapon Law No. 2 of the year 2022.

Prime Minister Barzani stressed that all criminals should be confronted and brought to justice, and that the government must tackle the phenomenon of illegal weapon possession.

Next, the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs briefed the Council on the new draft labor bill.

Prime Minister Barzani praised the Ministries involved in preparing the draft and addressed the importance of the bill in codifying relations between employees and employers in a way that preserves the rights of both sides, respects human rights and ensures gender equality. The bill also protects the rights of laborers and helps provide more job opportunities for locals.

Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani also praised the Ministries involved in preparing this bill, adding that the bill is of great importance because it strengthens the economy and the private sector, while being drafted in a modern and professional manner. He added that the bill will also protect the rights of both expatriates and the local labor force.

The Council voted on the bill, deciding unanimously that it be sent to parliament for approval.

Thereafter, the Minister of Finance, the head of the Council’s Diwan, the Council’s Secretary, and the Interim Minister of Natural Resources briefed the Council on a report showcasing the Kurdistan Region’s total revenues and expenditure in the first six months of 2022.

The Council commented that the ninth cabinet has been able to allocate full salaries in the first six months of the year through oil revenues. This comes in spite of the Federal Government sending the KRG only 400 billion Dinars out of the 1.2 trillion Dinars it was supposed to send in that period, with salaries in the Kurdistan Region amount to 900 billion Dinars per month. The Council added that in the past three years of the ninth cabinet, the government has been able to repay $1.5 billion of old debts without loaning any more money.

Moreover, the government has provided $566 million worth of gas for electricity generators. The government has also spent $516 million on electricity and redistributed it among the people of the Kurdistan Region at a subsidized rate. The government has also provided gasoline at a price of 800 Dinars per liter, despite the costs to the government standing at 1,200 dinars per liter.

Finally, the Council discussed the legal measures being taken by the KRG in relation to the unfair and unconstitutional pressure being applied to the Kurdistan Region by the Iraqi Oil Ministry.

The Council stated that the Federal Government has unconstitutionally halted the process of sending the Region’s share of the Federal Budget, and has placed unjustified pressure on the Kurdistan Region in a bid to prevent it from gaining its own income from oil and customs.

The Council reiterated that under no circumstances will the KRG cede the Kurdistan Region’s constitutional rights and will defend them without giving in to any pressure or threats.

The Council further stressed the importance of resolving these outstanding issues between Erbil and Baghdad, among them issues concerning the oil and gas industry, on the basis of the Constitution.