Protesters in Sulaimani demand disability checks from the KRG

 Protesters in Sulaimani demand disability checks from the KRG
12 months ago

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SULAIMANI – A group of disabled residents from Sulaimani held a demonstration in the city on Tuesday (May 31), demanding the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) release funds for monthly benefits.

NRT correspondent Baban Anwar said a number protesters gathered in front of the Goizha Bank in Sulaimani and blocked the street, calling on the government to follow through with payments.

According to a recent statement from the KRG’s Ministry of Finance and Economy, payments for disabled people covering the month of January would be distributed on Tuesday.

One protester told NRT the group was told to return next week to pick up their money as there was no cash in the bank.

Another person reported not having received any money for nearly ten months.

“I’ve borrowed money because I haven’t had any money to buy medicine,” she said. “We don’t have anything; it’s been six months I haven’t had money in my pocket.”

Another demonstrator in front of the bank told NRT that the peaceful protest would continue until payment is distributed.

Meanwhile, General Director of the local Social Care and Development office Omer Golpi told NRT that payments for disability beneficiaries have been reduced, as salaried for most government workers, due to the economic crisis plaguing the region.

“People who received 150,000 IQD ($135.5 US) before will receive 89,500 IQD ($89) for the month of January,” Golpi said.

“The people who received 100,000 IQD ($90) will get 59,500 dinars ($53 US).”

KRG officials blame the ongoing financial crisis on global oil prices, a dispute with Baghdad over its budget share as well as an influx of refugees and displaced Iraqis to the region.

Under a new austerity plan put in place earlier this year, the KRG is withholding money from civil servants’ wages as a way to manage the crisis.