KRG, Baghdad reach deal on 2021 budget law: Deputy PM

Kurdistan Region Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani gives a press conference in Baghdad, Dec. 22, 2020. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)
Kurdistan Region Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani gives a press conference in Baghdad, Dec. 22, 2020. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) negotiating team visiting Baghdad announced on Tuesday that it had succeeded in reaching an agreement with the federal government regarding the national 2021 draft budget law.

The Kurdistan Region's Deputy Prime Minister, Qubad Talabani, said, “We were able to reach an agreement to install the Kurdistan Region’s share in the draft federal budget law for the year 2021,” at a press conference.

This comes after weeks of public controversy over the budget, including the devaluation of Iraqi currency and provisions in a new federal deficit law that the KRG had previously called unconstitutional.

“We came to Baghdad in order to implement the fiscal deficit law and showed full readiness to implement all conditions, but Baghdad has set two conditions for the disbursement of financial dues within this law,” he added.

Talabani explained that the delegation agreed to Baghdad’s conditions of the KRG being required to hand over both oil and non-oil revenues.

“So far,” he said, “Baghdad has not set the region’s share of the 26 trillion Iraqi dinars, which the federal government is going to borrow to address the shortage, and we hope that the money will be sent to finance the region’s salaries for the last three months of this year.”

The Iraqi parliament on Nov. 12 passed a budget deficit law in the absence of representatives from the Kurdistan Region, who boycotted the session over disagreements about a clause that Kurdish lawmakers described as “unfair” for the autonomous region’s share in the federal budget.

Read More: Iraq’s parliament passes deficit law, despite Kurdish objections

“The salaries of the region’s employees were not included in the fiscal deficit law enacted by the Iraqi parliament last November,” Talabani added, “although Baghdad and Erbil reached an agreement last August for Baghdad to send 320 billion dinars to Erbil per month to cover part of the region’s employees’ expenses until an agreement is reached.” 

Talabani pointed out that there is no doubt that 2021 will be a difficult year and will require joint efforts of the federal and regional governments to face multiple ongoing issues together.

“The challenges are great, but we have the political will and we have brave people who can overcome the crises. We hope the political parties from Zakho to al-Faw to cooperate together in this phase.”

Editing by John J. Catherine