Kurdistan Region welcomes passage of Iraq’s three-year budget bill, says president
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani on Tuesday welcomed the recent passage of the Iraqi federal budget bill for the fiscal years of 2023, 2024, and 2025, hoping the law to be implemented equitably, according to a statement.
Iraqi lawmakers, following several delays, on Sunday voted on the country’s budget bill.
“We welcome the approval of the Iraqi three-year budget bill. We hope it will be a good roadmap for economic development, and political stability, and we hope it will create an encouraging environment for investments,” President Barzani said in a statement.
Hoping for the law to be implemented fairly and in a manner that takes the Kurdistan Region’s constitutional status into account, Barzani said guarantees must be given to ensure the Kurdish region’s financial entitlements and employees’ salaries are not withheld for political reasons.
Barzani expressed his dismay at the way the clauses related to Kurdistan Region and disputed territories were treated by “some MPs”, without mentioning their names.
“We welcome the approval of the Iraqi three-year budget bill. We hope it will be a good roadmap for economic development, political stability, and we hope it will create an encouraging environment for investments,” Barzani said.
Kurdistan Region’s top officials, including Prime Minister Masrour Barzani and Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) President Masoud Barzani, have previously expressed their concerns regarding the last-minute changes to the budget bill that had violated the previous agreements between Erbil and Baghdad.
Hoping for the budget to be implemented in a “goodwill manner”, KDP President Masoud Barzani expressed his dismay at those parties that “did not honor their signatures and vows” and breached the agreements previously reached between Erbil and Baghdad.
Hailed as one of the country’s biggest budgets, the state expenditures set at 198.91 trillion Iraqi dinars ($153 billion) with a deficit of more than 64 trillion dinars (over $48 billion).
The Kurdistan Region’s share in the federal budget is set at 12.67 percent, amounting to more than $12 billion annually.
Prime Ministers Barzani and Mohammad Shia’ Al-Sudani on April 4 struck a deal to resume Kurdistan Region’s halted oil export to Turkey after the flow was suspended at Baghdad’s request as the International Court of Arbitration in Paris ruled in Iraq’s favor.
Iraq’s state oil marketing company – SOMO- will sell the Region’s 4,500 barrels of oil, whose revenues are set to be deposited at a bank account that can be audited by Iraqi officials along with federal and regional ministries of natural resources, per the budget law. An international auditing company will similarly be involved in the process.
Article 14 (7), which was passed in the parliament, drew severe criticism from the KDP, the biggest component of the KRG. The provision allows Baghdad to provide financial entitlements to regional provinces in case the regional government fails to distribute the budget equitably.
The leading party dubbed the passage as “unconstitutional” and an attempt to “divide” Kurdistan Region.