ERBIL (Kurdistan24) – A lawmaker in the Iraqi parliament on Monday called on Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi to issue an “urgent decision” to pay dues owed to farmers in the Kurdistan Region.
Many farmers in Iraq, including Kurdish ones, hand over their yearly grain yields to the central government in return for compensatory payments. Kurdish farmers recently staged a sit-in outside the Iraqi President’s office in Baghdad, protesting missed payments since 2014.
“Thousands of families of farmers in the region are eagerly awaiting the payment of their dues by the federal government after several years of delay,” which has led to them being “overwhelmed by accumulated debts,” Hoshyar Abdullah said in a statement. Abdullah is a member of the legislature’s Financial Affairs Committee.
“There are financial allocations in the Ministry of Commerce to pay” the farmers and the minister has stated as much, specifying that the payments would go to “Iraqis as well as the Kurds,” the lawmaker added.
Baghdad, through the ministry of commerce, buys and categorizes the grains into three grades according to quality and then uses it to facilitate the country’s rationing scheme. In return for the purchased product, the government delivers cheques which can be cashed in on a turn-by-turn basis.
Abdullah explained that the ministry of commerce has handed “two formal addresses” to the office of Abdul-Mahdi, whose decision onto the issue now falls.
Abdullah expressed his hope that the Prime Minister would make an “urgent decision” to compensate the affected farmers.
Editing by Nadia Riva