KRG delegation in Baghdad for customs talks

The officials did not provide further details on the agenda of the visit.
Kurdistan Region flag (right) is pictured with Iraqi flag. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)
Kurdistan Region flag (right) is pictured with Iraqi flag. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)

ERBIL (Kurdistan24) – A senior Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) delegation arrived in Baghdad on Sunday overnight to hold talks with Iraqi federal officials on customs policy and amendment of the law.

Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Minister of Interior Reber Ahmed and Minister of Finance and Economy Awat Sheikh Janab are senior members of the delegation, Kurdistan 24 has learned.

The officials did not provide further details on the agenda of the visit.

Among other outstanding issues, Erbil and Baghdad are in a dispute over the management of customs and its revenues, in which the federal government claims all the income belongs to the state treasury while the KRG argues for a shared management, as stipulated in the Iraqi constitution’s Article 114.

The Region’s officials have previously announced that its customs policy is in line with the federal one.

Several KRG delegations have visited Baghdad in recent months in a bid to resolve the outstanding budgetary issues that had shaped the rocky relations between the two governments for years.

Omed Sabah, president of the KRG Diwan, last week told Kurdistan 24 the ongoing negotiations are “comprehensive” and are “going in the right direction.”

However, the Kurdish region’s share in the budget has been set as 12 percent, the semi-autonomous region has not received its share since the three-year budget’s approval in June. Instead, Baghdad has paid Erbil’s financial entitlements in loans until September.

The KRG has officially requested Baghdad to send additional funds to cover the remaining months of the year until the amendment of the budget law, Sabah said.

The 700 billion IQD ($538 million) is supposed to be transferred monthly to the Kurdistan Region per an agreement between the two governments.