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Tishwash: Parliament is considering settling accounts between Baghdad and Erbil

The Parliamentary Finance Committee hosted the two heads of the Federal Financial Supervision Divisions, Rafil Yassin, and the Kurdistan Region, Khaled Hadi, to coordinate between the two institutions in the public interest of the Iraqi people.

The representative of the committee, Jamal Cougar, said, “The Parliamentary Finance Committee hosted during its meeting today, the heads of the two Federal Financial Supervision Divisions, Rafil Yassin, and the Kurdistan Region, Khaled Hadi, to coordinate between the two institutions in the public interest of the Iraqi people.”

And, that “the Finance Committee stressed during the meeting the need to strengthen coordination and cooperation between the two institutions and bring views closer to ensure the rights of all components of the Iraqi people.”

Cougar added, “The Finance Committee posed many questions that focused on financial matters to the President of the Office of Financial Supervision in the Kurdistan region, who in turn answered the questions of the members of the committee.”

The committee member continued, “The meeting also discussed the first paragraph of Article 10 of the draft federal budget law for the year 2021, which provides for the settlement of accounts between the Kurdistan Regional Government and the federal government, in addition to some outstanding financial files.   link

Tishwash:  Tariq Harb: The constitution prevented parliament from making changes to the budget bill

Legal expert, Tariq Harb, confirmed, on Wednesday, that the constitution prevents the House of Representatives from making changes to the draft budget law, stressing that the members of the Council do not have the right to change the paragraphs of the Kurdistan region’s share of the budget.

Tariq Harb said, in a statement to Kurdish media, that “the draft budget law is a state action plan, and the government is responsible for it and the parliament cannot change it because it does not bear responsibility for its failure. The House of Representatives on the budget bill is limited and not absolute, as is the case in all the draft laws.

He explained that “the Constitution, according to Article 62, granted the House of Representatives two powers with regard to the draft budget, namely conducting transfers between budget chapters and chapters, and reducing the total amount of the budget.”

With regard to the share of the Kurdistan region and whether it delivers a specific amount of oil or the entire oil file, Tariq Harb stressed that “the House of Representatives is bound by what is stated in the draft law, and the representatives do not have the right to make a change in that, and if they want to make a change in relation to the share of Kurdistan they must return the project Government.  link

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Tishwash:  A “decisive” parliamentary-government meeting regarding Kurdistan’s oil exports

On Wednesday, the Parliamentary Finance Committee will hold a meeting in the presence of government officials to resolve the issue of Kurdistan Region oil exports in the country’s financial budget for the current year.

The Shafaq News Agency correspondent reported, “The Parliamentary Finance Committee started its 39th meeting to resume its discussions on the draft federal budget bill.”

The meeting was held in the presence of Minister of Oil Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar, and Director of the Iraqi Oil Marketing Company “SOMO” owned by Baghdad, Alaa Al-Yasiri, to settle the issue of the region’s oil exports in the budget.

Sources had revealed, on Tuesday, to Shafaq News Agency that the Shiite blocs had raised their demands by informing the Kurdish delegation to hand over the revenues of 500 thousand barrels per day to the federal government instead of 250 thousand barrels per day, in exchange for the region receiving its full share of the budget without any shortage.

This requirement contradicts the agreement reached by Baghdad and Erbil, which stipulates handing over the region revenues of 250 thousand barrels per day and half of the other revenues from border crossings and others, in exchange for a share estimated at 12.6 percent of the budget in addition to the payment of salaries of the Peshmerga forces.

The agreement was included in the draft budget approved by the Iraqi government and sent to Parliament for approval, but the regional government delegation returned to Baghdad again to persuade the political blocs in Parliament to pass the region’s share.

The regional government says it exports 250 thousand barrels per day of oil produced from its fields, and the remainder goes to domestic consumption, which makes it unable to meet the new demands of the Shiite blocs, which could lead to the collapse of the talks.  link

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Tishwash:  Suzuki delivers an ‘important message’ to Iraq: a $ 50 million aid package

On Wednesday, Health Minister Hassan Al-Tamimi discussed with Japanese Ambassador Suzuki Kotaro a mechanism for enhancing cooperation between the two countries in the health and medical fields.

The Ministry of Health said in a statement received by “Nass”, a copy of it, (February 3, 2021) that “the Japanese ambassador to Iraq, Suzuki Kotaro, visited the Minister of Health Dr. Hassan Al-Tamimi in his office on February 2, 2021, and reviewed recent developments in bilateral cooperation between Japan and Iraq in the field of Health and medical policy, looking for ways and means to enhance cooperation between the two friendly countries, with a special focus on the issue of controlling the emerging corona virus in Iraq.

According to the statement, “Ambassador Suzuki expressed his sympathy for the Iraqi people who are suffering from the pandemic, and expressed his highest respect for all Iraqi medical personnel who are fighting it for the sake of citizens.”

The statement added, “During the meeting, Ambassador Suzuki delivered an important message to Minister Al-Tamimi stating that the Japanese parliament approved an aid package for Iraq with a total value of 50 million US dollars on January 28, which will finance eleven major projects in Iraq that will be implemented by the United Nations and other international organizations. These projects aim to assist the Iraqi people in controlling the deadly Covid-19 pandemic and also help them overcome the issues of the displaced in Iraq. ”

The statement indicated that “the Embassy of Japan will continue to work with the Ministry of Health and all stakeholders in coordination with JICA to provide quality assistance to the people of Iraq in the public health sector.  link

Tishwash:  Due to a lack of liquidity, Fitch reduces Kuwait’s credit rating

Fitch Ratings has downgraded its outlook for the Kuwaiti economy from stable to negative, while maintaining its credit rating at AA.

The agency said in a report today, Wednesday, that the amendment of Kuwait’s outlook reflects the near-term liquidity risk associated with the imminent depletion of liquid assets in the General Reserve Fund (GRF) in the absence of the government’s parliamentary mandate to borrow.

The General Reserve Fund is the main repository for all the revenues of the State of Kuwait from oil revenues, and the revenues from its investments.

And she continued: “The depletion of liquidity at the Kuwait General Reserve Fund; It will severely reduce the government’s ability to fulfill its spending obligations and could lead to major economic disruption. ”

She indicated that this risk “is rooted due to the political and institutional stalemate, which also explains the lack of fundamental reforms to address the budget deficit that exceeds 10%, the expected weakness in the general budget, and the external balance of Kuwait (the balance of payments),” and she explained that, in spite of that; Kuwait will remain among the most powerful sovereign countries ranked by Fitch, according to the statement.

Passing a law on debt, deficit reduction and fiscal reform continues to face entrenched political divisions and financial constraints, with more than 70% of government spending consisting of salaries and subsidies, and nearly 80% of Kuwaiti citizens work in the public sector.  link