MPs closely watching KRG, will use courts to secure full public sector salaries

Flags of Iraq and the Kurdistan Region (File)

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SULAIMANI — Member of the Council of Representatives’ Finance Committee Shirwan Mirza said on Monday (May 10) that lawmakers will resort to federal courts and parliament to put pressure on the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) if it continues to cut public sector salaries.

Mirza, who represents the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), told NRT that lawmakers are monitoring the situation closely and are looking to see whether the KRG lives up to its obligation under the 2021 Federal Budget Law to prioritize salary payments, adding that the amount sent by Baghdad to Erbil ought to be sufficient for full payments.

The KRG has struggled for more than a year to pay its public sector workers, missing five monthly salary disbursements and cutting the remaining ones since March 2020 by nearly a quarter.

Passed more than a month ago but not yet implemented, the budget law says that the KRG is supposed to receive 9.5 trillion Iraqi dinars ($6.5 billion), which will be disbursed in monthly increments, in return for submitting 250,000 barrels of crude oil per day to Iraq's oil marketer SOMO for export. The federal government will be able to cut off funds in the event of non-compliance.

Erbil has not sent any oil or customs revenue to Baghdad yet.

“The federal government and the [KRG] should try to resolve the issues together and the Iraqi Ministry of Oil and the [KRG] Ministry of Natural Resources should determine the price of oil with SOMO,” he said.

Mirza said that the delays transferring money to the Region in April are technical in nature and would be resolved if the KRG simply sent a committee to fix the problem.

Earlier on Monday, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi predicted that Bagdad will send the Kurdistan Region’s budget share soon.

(NRT Digital Media)