Iraq parliament wants to ‘fill the gaps’ in draft budget law

Iraq’s parliament decided the budget must be amended before it is given a first reading the legislature.

Some MPs had reservations about elements of the draft 2019 budget, Muthana Amin, head of the KIU bloc, told Rudaw.

The parliament decided to send these concerns back to the government to consider before the parliament gives the bill a first reading, he explained.

If the reservations are not taken into consideration, then the parliament will demand the government rewrite the draft, Amin said.

The draft 2019 budget was prepared by ministers of the former government.

Lawmakers also considered a proposal from Turhan Mufti, the government representative in the legislature, to form a joint committee between the parliament and the government to discuss the budget and make amendments.

The committee would “work with the government to fill the gaps in the budget,” Ahmed Haji Rasheed, an MP from Komala, told Rudaw.

Kurdish politicians have criticized the draft, saying it contains many of the same shortcomings of previous budgets, including reducing the Kurdistan Region’s share and not giving the Region its legal recognition.

Mufti said the budget needs a clear and new vision and the parliament should “invest the time” in improving it, according to a statement from the parliament.

The parliament will vote on the formation of such a financial committee on Thursday when lawmakers will also discuss the problem of mass deaths of fish.

Parliament has yet to put a vote on the remaining ministers on its agenda. Key posts like defence and the interior remain vacant, subject to political wrangling. Source