Reform bill responds to Kurdistan’s demands for fairness: PM Barzani
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The reform bill is a response to the people of Kurdistan’s demands for fairness in the public sector, Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani said on Wednesday after he chaired a ministerial meeting via video conference on the bill and Baghdad-Erbil relations.
“This bill is in response to Kurdistanis’ demands for fairness across the public sector – in salaries, pensions and benefit,” Prime Minister Barzani wrote on Twitter. He added that the reform bill would “end abuse while protecting the rights of those with entitlements.”
Prime Minister Barzani also announced that the reform was “officially put into effect” on Wednesday.
The reform bill was officially put into effect by the cabinet today. This bill is in response to Kurdistanis’ demands for fairness across the public sector – in salaries, pensions and benefits. It will end abuse while protecting the rights of those with entitlements. pic.twitter.com/rdZoRWiIXA— Masrour Barzani پابەندین# (@masrour_barzani) July 1, 2020
In mid-January, the Kurdistan Parliament passed the reform bill, aimed at eliminating “ghost employees” and “to bring fairness” to the public pension system, according to the parliament’s website. The passage came following the KRG’s submission of the reform plan in December 2019.
During the ministerial meeting, the KRG Prime Minister “emphasized” that reform is a popular demand of the people and is aimed at bringing “fairness” and protecting “genuine entitlements” in the public sector, according to a statement by the prime minister’s office.
The Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Finance and Economy Minister, Awat Sheikh Janab, laid out the financial mechanisms for implementing the reform law, according to a statement from the meeting.
Following the finance minister, KRG’s head of Coordination and Follow-up Department presented a report on practical steps necessary for the implementation of the reform bill, per the statement.
Another aspect of the meeting was enhancing the partnership between the public and private sector to provide a more competitive environment for companies.
KRG Minister of Planning Dara Rashid presented a report to the audience about the legal framework to develop the public-private partnership, the KRG statement said.
Following discussions, the framework was approved “unanimously” as it would be a legal basis for “joint projects” by the public and private sectors, “creating equal opportunities” for companies to compete.
Per the recommendations of the relevant authorities on tax reform, the cabinet decided “unanimously” to “undo tax exemptions granted outside the law.”
Commercial projects will be “carefully audited” and companies are “obligated” to pay tax, otherwise, legal action will be taken against them, according to the statement.
It added that the cabinet would draft a new tax law, “benefitting from technology to deliver transparency and services to taxpayers and reducing bureaucracy.”
Prime Minister Barzani stressed that “reforms will continue to be carried out in all sectors,” the office announced.
In the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, who headed the delegation to Baghdad, discussed the “results” of the talks with the federal government, the statement said.
He also highlighted “suggestions” for the pending issues between the regional and federal government, as the cabinet decided to “continue” the dialogue between the two governments to reach an agreement in which the region’s “constitutional rights and entitlements are guaranteed,” according to the statement.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany