KRG delegation begins meetings with federal officials in Baghdad

Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Minister of State Khalid Shwani (File)

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SULAIMANI — Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Minister of State Khalid Shwani said on Monday (January 25) that the KRG delegation currently in Baghdad met with members of Council of Representatives’ Finance Committee and several federal officials about the draft 2021 Federal Budget Law.

Shwani, who is a member of the delegation, said during a televised interview with Iraqi television channel al-Sharqiya that their discussions about the legislation contained both political and technical elements.

He suggested that forming a committee tasked with financial supervision would help to resolve disputes between the federal government and the KRG, adding that some disagreements were rooted on electoral posturing.

He added that during the meetings some federal officials requested clarification about the KRG’s expenditures and how it collected income.

Shwani also rejected suggestions that the KRG employs 1,230,000 public sector workers, saying that the number of civilian and military employees does not exceeds 750,000.

“The other people who are paid [by the KRG] are retirees, social workers, and families of martyrs,” he said, adding that “only twelve percent of the Kurdistan Region’s population receives salaries and benefits.”

Despite his assertion, outside estimates tend to suggest a much higher percentage of reliance on the public sector.

In 2018, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) found that “the public sector employs nearly half of the working population and as much as 75 percent of working women.”

Shwani said that the Kurdistan Region produces 450,000 barrels of oil per day, of which an average of 425,000 barrels is exported and 25,000 is consumed locally.

(NRT Digital Media)