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KRG will abide by Baghdad’s fiscal deficit law: finance minister

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) will abide by the fiscal deficit bill obliging Erbil to hand an unspecified amount oil in return for federal revenues,  the KRG’s Minister of Finance Awat Sheikh Janab has said.

“The KRG will start implementing the duties they have as per the law, and will notify the responsible offices to do their part,” read a copy of the letter to Baghdad’s Ministry of Finance obtained by Rudaw English.

“The KRG agrees to all the points made in the fiscal deficit bill, and from now it is up to the federal government and Kurdish representatives in Baghdad to do their job,” the minister said in a press conference on Tuesday.

The letter comes amid widespread protests in Sulaimani province over unpaid civil servant salaries. At least four people have been reported dead since Monday.

Iraqi MPs on November 12 passed the Fiscal Deficit Coverage Bill to approve loans for civil servant salaries in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region for the last two months of this year.

The bill passed with a majority vote, despite a walkout staged by Kurdish MPs, angered that Erbil is obliged to hand over an unspecified amount of oil in exchange for funds- a clause they say was not in the original bill.

The Kurdistan Region is heavily dependent on its share of the Iraqi budget, and the KRG has said it cannot pay civil servants without its fair share of federal government money.

The KRG has struggled to pay civil servant salaries in full and on time for five years due to the war against the Islamic State (ISIS), a drop in oil prices and disputes with the federal government. Source