Iraq, Kurdistan Region seek resolution for delayed civil servant salaries

SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region — Amid the ongoing disputes over the delayed salaries of civil servants in the Kurdistan Region, both the Iraqi Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) have reached an agreement to address the issue of overdue payments.

A delegation from the KRG, led by Finance Minister Awat Sheikh Janab, visited Baghdad last week and held a crucial and unprecedented meeting with Iraqi Finance Minister Taif Sami in front of the Iraqi Parliament’s finance committee. The primary objective of this meeting was to resolve the ongoing financial disputes between Erbil and Baghdad, particularly concerning the delayed salary payments for the Region’s civil servants for the months of August and September.

During the meeting, the KRG delegation provided comprehensive data on the Region’s non-oil revenues and expenditures. This situation has arisen because the Iraqi government has not yet implemented the budget law articles related to the Region’s financial rights, causing a delay in the disbursement of its financial entitlements.

Addressing Baghdad’s inquiries about the number of salaried employees, the KRG delegation presented its latest figures. The Region employs a total of 1,114,335 salaried individuals, for whom the KRG requires over 913 billion dinars.

The Kurdistan Region faced challenges in paying its civil servants after the suspension of its oil exports in March, following an arbitration ruling in favor of Iraq issued by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris. As a result, civil servants in the Region have not received their salaries for the months of August and September.

Between January 1st and March 25th, the Region exported 352,000 barrels per day, generating over 2.9 trillion dinars in revenue. However, only 1.2 trillion dinars returned to the Region’s finances. This discrepancy can be attributed to the fact that the Region spends $32.9 on the production and transportation of one barrel of oil, while Iraq’s expenses are only $6.9, which is approximately $26 less than the cost of KRG oil production.

Additionally, the KRG delegation presented the “My Account” initiative and requested that Iraq disburse the salaries of the Region’s civil servants through this KRG initiative, which aims to electronically process payments. Iraqi authorities expressed their understanding of the proposal but preferred to have a government bank handle salary disbursements on behalf of Baghdad.

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