Updated: Central Bank of Iraq transfers salaries for public sector employees to Kurdistan Region

An undated photo shows a man using a currency counting machine (File)

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SULAIMANI — The Central Bank of Iraq has deposited funds to pay the salaries of public employees into the account of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Ministry of Finance and Economy, a source said on Wednesday (April 17).

A source from KRG’s Ministry of Finance and Economy told NRT Digital Media that the Kurdistan Region’s branch of the Central Bank of Iraq has confirmed that it had enough money to deposit it into the bank account of the ministry.

The source said “454 billion Iraqi dinars” was deposited.

“The employees of the ministries who have not been paid will receive their salaries from this money,” he added.

Earlier on Wednesday, member of the Council of Representatives from the Change Movement (Gorran) Kawa Mohammed said that the federal Minister of Finance and Economy told him that he has signed the transfer order.

Mohammed added that the Baghdad had previously transferred salary payments for January, February, and March 2019.

“It is a big shame that the Kurdistan Regional Government has not paid the [employees’] salaries for the month of January,” he said.

Head of New Generation caucus in the Kurdistan Parliament Kazim Faruq said on Tuesday that Baghdad sent 317 million Iraqi dinars in both January and February and 700 million Iraqi dinars in March so that the KRG could pay public sector employees.

So far, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has only paid January salaries for employees at selected ministries, prompting a strike at the University of Sulaimani by employees of the KRG's Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

KRG officials have blamed the central government for not transferring the money, an allegation contested by both Mohammed and Faruq.

The failure of the KRG to pay public sector salaries in full and on time has stoked public anger and prompted a wave of protests in early 2018.

The Council of Representatives passed the federal budget law for 2019 in January, allowing the KRG to do away with an unpopular salary withholding system.

It also raised hopes that the government would begin regular payments.

(NRT Digital Media)