ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A high delegation from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is set to visit the Iraqi capital of Baghdad next week to discuss the autonomous Kurdish government’s participation in preparing a draft for Iraq’s 2020 budget bill.
The announcement came on Wednesday during a meeting of the Kurdistan Region’s Council of Ministers headed by KRG Prime Minster Masrour Barzani.
“The meeting approved an essential overhaul of the Kurdistan Region’s taxation system and agreed further actions regarding the KRG’s engagement with the federal government of Iraq,” a statement on the KRG website read.
“The KRG agreed to send a delegation to Baghdad next week to ensure the Kurdistan Region’s interests are represented in the 2020 Iraqi budget,” it added.
Chaired weekly cabinet meeting today to discuss priorities — We reviewed tax reforms and importance of regular dialogue with federal parliamentary committees; team to visit Baghdad ahead of talks on the 2020 federal budget. https://t.co/AdaaQt4Vhx pic.twitter.com/gwklud1lxX— Masrour Barzani (@masrour_barzani) September 11, 2019
During a press conference following the meeting, KRG spokesperson Jutyar Adil said the Kurdish delegation would “initiate talks and exchange information regarding [Iraq’s] budget bill” with Iraq’s Ministry of Finance, as well as the KRG’s participation in the preparation of the draft budget bill from the early stages.
Another key issue discussed in the meeting was the formation of a special committee to oversee preparations for the upcoming Iraqi national census in 2020, Adil revealed.
The committee will “assess and ensure the rights of all the different ethnicities and religions in the Kurdistan Region are considered,” the spokesperson added.
According to the KRG statement, the autonomous Kurdish government “will invite Iraq’s finance, oil and gas, and legal parliamentary committees for further in-depth discussions.”
Oil revenues, the status of disputed territories, and the KRG’s share of the federal budget are some of the outstanding issues between Erbil and Baghdad.
Ties between the two governments have notably improved since the beginning of 2019, with the formation of a new federal government headed by Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi. The governments had fallen out of favor in the aftermath of the Kurdistan Region’s historic independence referendum in September 2017.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany