ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Members of the Kurdistan Region’s Organization for the Disabled a protest outside the parliament building on Monday to criticize the outgoing lawmakers’ decision on their bonuses.
The protest is part of a series local organizations have launched after MPs agreed on a 40,000 USD bonus, which they would receive in three separate payments. Retiring lawmakers also have a 5,000 USD monthly salary at a time when 87 percent of households in the region have a monthly income of approximately 850 USD, according to a recent survey.
“If there is a financial crisis, why is every lawmaker receiving 48 million dinars?” a paraplegic protester told Kurdistan 24 moments after setting his wheelchair on fire to demonstrate his anger.
The MPs “say they are permitted by law” to write themselves bonuses; “where is the law when it comes to the payments of the disabled?”
The Kurdistan Region has suffered from a financial crisis over the past few years. A costly war to ward off the Islamic State, a refugee crisis, and a bloated public sector have strained the region’s economy – which is yet to modernize.
As a consequence of a reduced budget, the Kurdistan Regional Government slashed the payments of public workers, retirees, and various forms of social security programs.
“Since there is money,” the protester added, “they should pay us on time as well.”
“We haven’t been able to provide ourselves with food for the past 48 months.”
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany