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After autumn stumble, Iraqi finance ministry says committed to paying salaries, pensions

A pile of Iraqi dinar banknotes (File)
2020-10-24

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SULAIMANI — Iraq’s Ministry of Finance said on Friday (October 23) that it is committed to ensuring funding to pay salaries, pensions, and social benefits, saying it spent 15 trillion Iraqi dinars ($12.6 billion) obtained through loans to do so through September.

The ministry said in a statement that it used foreign-sourced loans to finance development projects.

A large drop in the price of oil in the spring and disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic left Iraq with a large budget shortfall. The Council of Representatives passed legislation earlier this year authorizing limited borrowing from domestic and foreign sources.

Earlier this autumn, the federal government delayed paying public sector salaries for several weeks.

In its statement, the ministry said it was preparing a detailed roadmap for “financing basic expenditures for the remaining three months of the current year,” which will be sent to the Council of Representatives when it is completed.

“This plan will include increasing the ministry's ability to borrow internally. Once approved, it will enable us to start securing government salaries in full,” the statement said.

The ministry also said it was preparing a draft 2021 Federal Budget Law to present to parliament.

(NRT Digital Media)