Baghdad will transfer funds to Erbil once it pays own public servants: MP

Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) MP Shirwan Mirza appears on NRT's Tawtwe interview program on September 28, 2020. (NRT Digital Media/Screenshot)

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SULAIMANI — Member of the Council of the Representatives’ Finance Committee Shirwan Mirza said on Monday (September 28) that Iraq has not yet paid its public sector workers and will not send an expected 320 billion Iraqi dinars ($269 million) to the Kurdistan Region until it completes that process.

The KRG and the federal government concluded a temporary agreement in August to resume limited budget transfers from Baghdad, in return for concessions from Erbil on control of customs procedures at international borders.

During an interview with NRT’s Tawtwe interview program, Mirza criticized the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for waiting on the transfer from Baghdad before paying its own public servants.

“It [KRG] should disburse salaries to some ministries because, after it cut salaries, the government previously said that it can pay salaries within 30 days, but it does not appear to be able to do so,” the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) lawmaker said. “It cannot pay a full salary even with Baghdad’s money.”

“Most of the revenue from oil exports went to the companies. That is why they cannot pay salaries,” he said, referring to conglomerates affiliated with his own PUK and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).

He said that financial clarity from both Baghdad and Erbil is necessary moving forward.

In a related disclosure, he said that Baghdad has determined that there are 682,000 official public servants working for the KRG, after stripping out ghost employees.

(NRT Digital Media)