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Council of Ministers Calls for Prompt Disbursement of the Kurdistan Region’s Salaries

On Wednesday, October 25, 2023, Prime Minister Masrour Barzani chaired a session of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Council of Ministers, with Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani in attendance.

During the session, the council discussed the recent meeting held on October 18 in Baghdad between the Finance Committee of the Iraqi Parliament and a KRG delegation led by the Minister of Finance and Economy, along with the federal Minister of Finance and the Federal Board of Supreme Audit. The KRG delegation presented a comprehensive report, encompassing data and figures detailing the financial status of the Kurdistan Region and the salaries of its public sector employees.

The KRG delegation emphasised that they had furnished the Finance Committee of the Iraqi Parliament with a 30-page report, addressing various aspects such as the Kurdistan Region's revenues, expenditures, oil, border crossings, collaborative inspection processes between federal and KRG auditors, and the number of public sector employees and their salaries.

The Council of Ministers instructed the Ministry of Finance and Economy to maintain consistent communication with the Finance Committee of the Iraqi Parliament and the Iraqi Ministry of Finance. Their objective is to work on the agreed-upon principles from the October 18 meeting, including the separation of salaries for the KRG's civil sector from federal Actual Spending expenditures. The aim is to ensure timely disbursement of salaries in line with the rest of Iraq and to propose necessary amendments to relevant articles in the federal budget law.

Fariq Sulaiman, Director General at the Kurdistan Region’s Board of Supreme Audit, summarised the progress made in the joint auditing conducted by Iraqi and KRG auditors for 2023. He highlighted the prompt cooperation from KRG ministries and institutions in providing data on revenues, expenditures, and public sector employees, which facilitated the joint auditing process. Three joint reports were published, covering revenues and expenditures, the oil sector, and the number of public sector employees and their salaries. The latter confirmed and rectified the figures for the KRG's public sector employees and their salaries.

The Council of Ministers endorsed the audit conducted by the joint board of auditors, reaffirming the Kurdistan Region's commitment to transparency. They pledged to disclose all data and figures to ensure accuracy and remove any obstacles delaying the disbursement of funds owed to the Kurdistan Region by the federal government. The Council directed all KRG ministries and institutions to cooperate fully with the joint auditing process to eliminate any potential grounds for excuses on the part of the Federal Ministry of Finance.

Based on the joint audit report, it is clear that the total number of public sector employees and their salaries have been properly confirmed and audited. Therefore, it is imperative for the federal government to promptly disburse the salaries and financial entitlements of the Kurdistan Region, as it is a legal obligation, on a par with the rest of Iraq.