In NRT 


Presidencies of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), the Kurdistan Region and Kurdistan Parliament met on Sunday (November 15) to discuss the federal loan bill passed three days ago by the Council of Representatives without the consent of the Kurdish caucuses.

On Thursday, the federal legislature approved the Fiscal Deficit Financing bill to fill deficits through borrowing 12 trillion Iraqi dinars (some $10 billion) in internal and external loans to finance the salary payments to public servants and other expenditures for the last three months in 2020.

The Kurdish caucuses walked out of the floor debate in protest of the Kurdistan Region’s share from the loans.

During a press conference following the meeting, Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani said the Region is poised to hand over the whole of its oil to the federal government so that the latter transfers 900 billion Iraqi dinars ($753.87 million) to the Region on a monthly basis.

“The Region is ready to make agreements with the federal government on oil and all the issues,” Barzani said, calling on the United Nations to play its roles in resolving the outstanding issues.

He said that the loan law aims to “punish” the Region’s people and is against “real partnership” among different Iraqi components. “The loan law is the biggest failure to the politician who rules Iraq.”

“The Kurdistan Region cannot borrow loans from the international banks without Baghdad’s acceptance.”

He also refused that the deals on energy between the Region with Turkey and the Russian-based Rosneft Oil Company be “obstacles” for failing to reach an agreement with Baghdad.

According to the legislation, the KRG should commit to hand over an amount of barrels of oil per day (bpd) to the federal government that will be determined by the SOMO in order to receive 320 billion Iraqi dinars to pay its civil servants.

A source within Sunday’s meeting told NRT Digital Media that a delegation chaired by the KRG Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani will head to Baghdad to meet with the federal officials. Also, The Kurdistan Parliament is slated to meet on Tuesday to discuss the federal loan bill in a session with the attendance of the relevant sides from the KRG Council of Ministers.

In April, Baghdad cut off all budget transfers to Erbil after the latter failed to send any oil to the federal government, as it was required to under the 2019 federal budget law. The cut-off caused heavy burden on the cash-strapped KRG to pay its civil servants on time and full over the months.

The two sides reached a temporary agreement in early August where Baghdad would send 320 billion Iraqi dinars, in return for bringing customs procedures at the Region’s international border crossings under federal control.

Iraq faces a serious financial shortfall due decline in oil prices marred by the coronavirus pandemic and endemic mismanagement and corruption the country has faced since the fall of the former Ba’ath regime, as the country almost exclusively counts on oil exports to finance its salary payroll and other expenditures.

Iraq has fallen behind in paying its public sector employees since September.

(NRT Digital Media)