Efforts to weaken Kurdistan Region in Iraqi budget bill ‘failed’, says KDP official
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A top Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) official in Baghdad said on Sunday that efforts to weaken Kurdistan Region as a constitutional entity in the 2023-2025 budget bill have failed.
The remarks by Ashwaq Jaf, the head of KDP’s 5th Baghdad Branch, came a day after the Iraqi lawmakers passed on the controversial articles of the budget bill, Article 14, concerning the Kurdish region’s oil export, management, and distribution of its revenues.
Prior to being adopted by lawmakers, several changes were made to the contentious articles related to the Region, including in the mechanisms that regulate the relations between Erbil and Baghdad.
Contrary to the original draft, a number of amendments were included in the bill, which the KDP members and a number of other Kurdish parties, excluding the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), considered as “dangerous” for the Region’s rights as a federal entity within Iraq.
“We have seen efforts to weaken and dismantle Kurdistan Region, but fortunately they had failed,” Jaf told Kurdistan 24 on Sunday.
The KDP has fiercely fought against the removal of two sub-articles in the budget bill that would lie the power of spending of Kurdish oil revenues in the hands of the Iraqi Minister of Finance as well as cutting its share from the budget by Baghdad in case of disputes between the two governments.
Out of 67 articles, 37 items have been passed in the past three days.
The Kurdistan Region’s share in the federal budget is set at 12.67 percent, amounting to more than $12 billion annually.
The hydrocarbon malmanagement and its revenues have been a decades-long dispute between Erbil and Baghdad, resulting in cutting the Kurdish share in the budget for several years.
Jaf said the passed Article 14 (7), allowing Baghdad to provide financial entitlements to regional provinces in case the KRG fails to distribute the budget equitably, is against the constitution as it does not allow a “direct interaction” between the federal government and regional provinces, adding the KRG has treated its provinces fairly.
The Iraqi lawmakers failed to convene on Sunday afternoon to vote on the remaining articles due lack of quorum.