ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The Iraqi Parliament on Sunday approved the Kurdistan Region’s share of the 2017 national budget bill.
The Iraqi Parliament held a special session to pass the budget bill for 2017, passing several articles including the Region’s constitutional share and the salaries of the Peshmerga forces.
The Iraqi government cut the Kurdistan Region’s 17 percent share in early 2014, accusing the Region of selling its oil independently without referring to Baghdad.
The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) withdrew from the Parliament session during the vote on Iraq’s national budget bill for 2017.
The KDP also asked the other Kurdish parties to review the articles about the Kurdistan Region’s share; otherwise, the bill would be rejected by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
“The requirements of the KRG regarding the budget of Peshmerga forces and the KRG’s share of the budget have not been taken into consideration,” Khasro Goran, head of the KDP bloc in the Iraqi Parliament said in a press conference.
Oppositely, Adil Nuri, a Kurdish MP, told Kurdistan24 the pressure by the Kurdish blocs in the Parliament helped pass the articles in the budget bill.
“The salaries of the Peshmerga forces and the Kurdistan Region’s 17 percent share are guaranteed in the budget bill,” Nuri said.
“In return, the KRG has to deliver 250,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) from the Region’s oil fields as well as handing over 300,000 bpd to the Iraqi government from Kirkuk oil fields,” he continued.
A total of 220 MPs voted for Iraq’s 2017 national budget law.
Due to a disagreement between Iraqi Sunni and Shia parties, the Parliament postponed the session planned for Monday to Wednesday instead to vote on the remaining articles of the budget.
According to the passed bill, the Iraqi government would provide the salaries of 740,000 KRG employees and Peshmerga soldiers whose number would be based on an agreement between Erbil and Baghdad.
The KRG had been unable to provide the monthly salaries of nearly 1.4 million employees in the past year due to the financial crisis.
Based on an estimated oil price of $42 USD per barrel and an export of 3.75 million bpd, the 2017 budget bill estimates Iraq’s revenue to be worth $79 billion USD.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany