Kurdistan Region’s Prime Minister files complaint against violations in approved Iraqi budget bill

SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region — Kurdistan Region’s Prime Minister, Masrour Barzani, has filed a complaint with the Iraqi Federal Supreme Court regarding specific articles within the recently approved budget bill. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) claims that these articles violate the constitution and undermine the rights of the Region.

One of the provisions in the budget bill stipulates that if the price of oil exceeds the budgeted $70 per barrel, the surplus revenue would be used to fund the provinces and address budget deficits.

However, the KRG insists that a portion of this revenue should be allocated to the Region, considering its exportation of 400,000 barrels of oil.

The budget bill also establishes a mechanism for resolving disputes between Erbil and Baghdad. According to this provision, a committee should address any conflicts within a 30-day period. If unresolved, the Iraqi parliament would intervene.

Nonetheless, the KRG rejects this proposal, asserting that the matter should not be brought before parliament but rather addressed within the council of ministers.

Furthermore, the budget bill sets the Region’s share of the federal budget at 12.67 percent. The KRG argues that this allocation is unconstitutional, as it believes that the Region’s population constitutes 14 percent and its share should be based on that figure.

Regarding the Region’s oil production, transportation, and marketing, the bill states that these activities should be conducted in coordination with Baghdad.

However, the KRG considers this provision unconstitutional and asserts that it should have independent control over its oil fields.

In the event that the KRG provinces protest the distribution of their financial entitlements, the bill allows for direct deposit of these funds by Iraq to the provinces.

However, the KRG views this provision as unconstitutional and maintains that such actions should not be taken.

The Iraqi Parliament gave its approval to the budget bill for the years 2023, 2024, and 2025 on June 12, 2023. This budget encompasses a total expenditure of $153 billion, with 12.64 percent specifically designated for the Kurdistan Region.

Additionally, the budget encompasses financial provisions for healthcare, education, and infrastructure development. On June 20, 2023, the Iraqi President, Latif Rashid, signed the budget into law.

 

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