Protesters in Sulaimani demand salaries be paid federal government, not KRG

Protest in Sulaimani demanding public sector salaries be paid by the Iraqi federal government, not the KRG, on July 6, 2020 (NRT Digital Media)

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SULAIMANI — Public sector workers, teachers, and activists protested in front of the Kurdistan Parliament’s local office in Sulaimani on Monday (July 6) demanding that their salaries be paid directly by the federal government to ensure that they are distributed on time and in full.

NRT reporter Karzan Tariq said that the protesters marched from Bakhi Gshty park to the Parliament’s office.

Once there, they went inside and told the employees there that they had contacted all of the lawmakers from Sulaimani, but that their pleas had been ignored.  

“We are calmly and peacefully protesting and are demanding our rights,” one protester said.

“The protest is not just because we have not received our salaries, it is because we want to receive our salaries directly from Baghdad,” he added.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is facing a massive budget shortfall and has repeatedly delayed payment of salaries this spring. In June, it announced that it was cutting salaries for most public sector workers by at least 21 percent.

KRG Spokesperson Jotiar Adil said on Saturday that all public sector employees would be paid by July 15.

While Baghdad is also facing budget problems, it has a more extensive fiscal and monetary toolbox at its disposal to ensure that public salaries are paid. Last month, the Council of Representatives authorized domestic and foreign borrowing to raise capital to pay salaries.

(NRT Digital Media)