ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A Kurdish lawmaker in the Iraqi Parliament on Thursday called on Parliamentary Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi to lead the Finance Committee’s meeting on the 2019 draft budget, scheduled to be held on Tuesday.
Iraq’s Parliament has recently decided to amend the draft bill after it sparked disagreements between lawmakers regarding the allocation of money to the provinces of Iraq and the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region.
The original 2019 budget bill was previously drafted and put forward by the former federal government of Iraq headed by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
“We call on all political blocs to set aside their differences and step away from tensions over positions and disputed ministries [they wish to control] as we continue to try and form government, and instead, focus on the budget bill,” said a member of the Iraqi parliamentary Finance Committee, Hoshyar Abdullah, in a statement on Thursday.
He noted that the draft bill must be completed and re-submitted “as soon as possible” as the Finance Committee will begin its review on Tuesday.
“It is very important to have Parliamentary Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi chairing the Finance Committee meeting to directly oversee the discussion of the draft bill... No one has yet been selected as the head of the Committee and there are many challenging issues within [this bill],” Abdullah argued.
The Kurdish lawmaker explained that key issues still need to be resolved, such as the amount to be allotted for provinces that have previously been under the control of the Islamic State (IS) and issues between Baghdad and Erbil which include the Kurdistan Region's budget share, oil exports, and funding for Peshmerga forces.
Disagreements between the federal government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) have been raging over financial allotments since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003.
The KRG has strongly objected to reductions made in its national share of the budget, which has been dropped from 17 percent to below 13 percent.
Editing by Nadia Riva