Kurdistan Region border crossings generate monthly revenue of 270 billion dinars: Report

SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region — A local NGO has revealed shocking figures regarding the income generated by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) border crossings. According to their findings, the crossings generate over 270 billion dinars monthly. However, an alarming revelation accompanies this revenue as it becomes evident that only half of it is actually returned to the KRG treasury. The NGO estimates that corruption and mismanagement at these border crossings have resulted in $100 million.

A recent report by Stop, an Erbil-based non-governmental organization supported by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), sheds light on a pressing issue concerning border crossings in the Kurdistan Region. The organization has recognized the significant impact these crossings have on the Region’s economy and revenues.

The report reveals that out of the 12 crossings in the Region, only six are officially recognized. It also highlights that the KRG received monthly revenue of 140 billion dinars from the recognized crossings last year. This amounts to 1.68 trillion dinars for the year.

The report further uncovers that border crossing revenue surpasses the officially reported figures by a considerable amount. Due to corruption and mismanagement, a large portion of these earnings fail to return to the KRG general fund. The report estimated border corruption to be around $100 million. Consequently, the actual revenue from border crossings stands at nearly double the publicly declared amount, reaching 270 billion dinars per month. However, only 140 billion dinars are actually returned to the KRG Ministry of Finance.

The report states that despite corruption and waste, crossing revenues still make up 35 percent of the Region’s total non-oil revenue of four trillion and 800 billion dinars a year.

Several border crossing issues were highlighted in the report, the most prominent being smuggling and illegal border crossings. Additionally, it points out the presence of inadequate systems and a lack of guidelines, as well as the absence of a unified electronic system. The report also highlights unresolved matters concerning amnesty and crossing privatization, with companies prioritized over the public sector. It also mentions the existence of dual-zone border crossings, which are controlled by the two main ruling parties.

The report referenced a previous statement made by Shakhawan Bakr, the director of the Bashmakh border crossing. Bakr highlighted smuggling as a significant issue. However, he further emphasized another issue specific to crossings, organized smuggling. He also expressed that the root of this problem lies with high-ranking officials in the country who are immune to accountability.

Samal Abdulrahman, the Director General of Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Customs, who was present at Stop’s press conference to unveil the report, openly acknowledged the extent of corruption and shortcomings at the border gates. However, he emphasized that the current situation at the Kurdish border crossings is considerably better than the situation at Iraqi border crossings.

 

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