KRG Prime Ministers Barzani touts achievements since taking office in July

In speech on economy, reform, relations with Baghdad
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani speaking about the governments 100 days achievements in speech he gave on Saturday December 8, 2019 (Photo Credit: KRG official website)

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SULAIMANI — In a major speech on Saturday (December 7), Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani touted what his government has achieved since it took office on July 10, particularly in terms of the economy, government reform, fighting corruption, and relations with Baghdad.

“We have made great strides and our work is moving forward on the right track,” Barzani said.

He said that one of the main goals of the cabinet is to increase domestic revenue and to reorganize it in a way that the government keeps better track of its own expenditures. In order to do this, it has begun directing all KRG revenue to the Ministry of Finance and Economy.

“We have been able to increase our domestic revenue by reorganizing and creating a balanced tax system” he said.

The cabinet has been able to create the necessary atmosphere to fight corruption and prevent it from growing further, Barzani said, adding that the government has removed hundreds of fake and “ghost employees” from government payrolls.

“I am very determined on this matter and will not turn a blind eye to corruption from any side or in any place,” he said.

“We have taken strict legal measures against those who receive or pay bribes to carry out their duties at the government departments. After one hundred days of work, I dare say that we have restricted and erased corruption to a considerable extent,” Barzani claimed.

The government was inaugurated following a vote by the Kurdistan Parliament on July 10. Barzani made his speech on the 150th day of his administration.

The prime minister said that a government reform package would soon be sent to parliament for approval, having promised to deliver it within 100 days. He said that it will incorporate reform to both the pension and salary systems.

He added that it will also include a salary increase for lower-level employees and a decrease for senior officials.

“In order to improve provision of services to the people, I have requested that all ministries reduce bureaucracy and prepare a reform plan for the next four years,” Barzani said.

He also revealed that the KRG is in the process of establishing a digital information center to provide public services to residents and business owners.

Barzani also touted his government’s improved relations with Baghdad.

The KRG recently reached agreements with the federal government on oil exports and the Region’s share of the federal budget.

In an earlier statement, the KRG said that Erbil will send 250,000 barrels of oil per day to Baghdad and in return Baghdad will transfer the Region’s full share of the budget.

Barzani said that this would lead to a better life for the people of the Kurdistan Region.

“One of the top priorities of the ninth cabinet of the KRG was to strengthen and improve our relations with the federal government in Baghdad,” Barzani said.

Since the 2019 Federal Budget Law was signed in January, Erbil refused to send 250,000 barrels of crude oil per day to Baghdad. As a result, the KRG was facing the prospect of difficult negotiations over the budget.

(NRT Digital Media)