ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – US officials on Monday arrived in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region to announce the establishment of a $160 million program to develop and improve the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) public sector.
Kurdistan Region Deputy Prime Minister, Qubad Talabani, received US Ambassador to Iraq Douglas Silliman and US State Official John Lister.
Douglas announced Iraqi Governance Performance and Accountability (IGPA) program worth $160 million during a press conference with Talabani and Lister, highlighting that the program is a clear sign of support from Washington DC toward the KRG, helping it deliver better services to the people of the Kurdistan Region.
Lister noted that the program would focus on “providing provincial governments of Iraq with the means to improve service delivery outcome, and will train civil servants on the best practices” among other development work.
Silliman explained the IGPA would assist the KRG in managing its finances through a “better system,” helping it track and determine levels of satisfaction once the services are delivered to the people.
“The US is committed to standing with all of the people of Iraq as the country looks forward and works to improve its future. As part of this commitment, we’re supporting the government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government in their efforts to adopt further principles of decentralization and implement economic reforms in the country,” Douglas added.
The IGPA program has opened its offices in Erbil, Baghdad, and Basra.
“The IGPA is designed to make a difference in the lives of everyday citizens by supporting their government reform initiatives to raise non-oil revenues, improve fiscal management, as well as oversee finances and public service,” the US Ambassador asserted.
Talabani praised the program and said it showed Washington supports a united and strong KRG within Iraq, a sentiment the US State Department has been stressing.
The announcement of the program came almost a month after Iraq’s reconstruction conference, which was held in Kuwait in mid-February.
Iraq received pledges of $30 billion, three times less than the $88 billion Iraqi officials claimed is needed to rebuild the country.
Editing by Nadia Riva