Kurdistan Regional Government
THU, 23 NOV 2017 03:08 Erbil, GMT +3

Council of Ministers statement on Iraq’s 2018 draft federal budget bill

WED, 1 NOV 2017 23:18 | KRG Cabinet

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (cabinet.gov.krd) – The Kurdistan Regional Government Council of Ministers issued a statement on the draft of Iraq’s 2018 federal budget bill and on statement by Iraqi Prime Minister, Mr. Haider Al-Abadi.

Below is KRG Council of Ministers’ statement

Iraqi Prime Minister, Mr. Haider Al-Abadi, has been stressing that the people of Kurdistan Region are first class citizens and that he will not allow them to be harmed, adding that he will also send the financial dues (salaries) of the civil servants of the Kurdistan Region.

The Kurdistan Regional Government’s Council of Ministers welcomes this initiative to pay the salaries of the Kurdistan Region civil servants who number one million two hundred forty-nine thousand and four hundred eighty-one (1,249,481) and the total amount of their salaries is eight hundred ninety seven billions and five hundred million Iraqi Dinars (897, 500,000,000.00). These numbers are based on biometric registration of all the civil servants and pensioners of the Kurdistan Region. The KRG is ready to make this information available. Below are the details of the numbers:

- 108 billion Iraqi Dinars are for the pensioners.
-  38.5 billion Iraqi Dinars for the salaries of 96,053 families of the martyrs and victims of Anfal campaign.
-  30 billion Iraqi Dinars for the salaries of 159,000 handicapped and Welfare Plan beneficiaries.
-  455 billion Iraqi Dinars for the salaries of 483,307 civil servants, including the police.
-  266 billion Iraqi Dinars for the salaries of 266,465 Peshmerga troops and security forces.

Meanwhile the KRG Council of Ministers requests the Federal Iraqi Council of Ministers not to approve the draft bill of Iraq’s 2018 budget, which was prepared by the Federal Ministry of Finance without the participation of the Kurdistan Region and for the following reasons:

1. For the first time since 2003, the constitutional term “Kurdistan Region- Iraq” has been removed and instead the term “Kurdistan Region Governorates” is used. This is clear breach of Section (1) of Article (117) and Section (1) of Article (121) of the Iraqi Federal Constitution which recognizes the Kurdistan Region and its authorities as a Federal Region that has the right to exercise executive, legislative and judicial powers. So the Iraqi Constitution deals with the Kurdistan Region as an entity not as Governorates or provinces.

2. Reducing the budget share of the Kurdistan Region, which is happening for the first time since 2005, from 17 percent to 12.6 percent is a breach of Section (3) of Article (121) of the Iraqi Constitution which states: “Regions and governorates shall be allocated an equitable share of the national revenues sufficient to discharge their responsibilities … having regard to their resources, needs, and the percentage of their population”. However, since an official census has never been conducted in Iraq, both Erbil and Baghdad agreed to estimate the population of the Kurdistan Region at 17 percent of the total population of Iraq. It is on this basis a similar percentage of federal revenues have been allocated to the Kurdistan Region in all Iraqi Fiscal years. It is worth mentioning here, that the Kurdistan Region has never been given the full amount of this 17 percent due to the annual increase of Iraqi Federal sovereign expenditures, yet without the KRG participating in the allocation and spending of these expenditures or even getting a share of it. That is why reducing the Kurdistan Region share of the Federal Iraqi budget has no constitutional basis and has been decided outside the Erbil-Baghdad joint agreement.

3. Granting direct authorities to the governorates of the Kurdistan Region in the federal budget bill and dealing with the Kurdistan Region as “provinces” not as a Region, is a contradiction to Section (1) of Article (117) and Section (1) of Article (121) of the Iraqi Federal Constitution. Not dealing with the Kurdistan Region as one entity “Region” is a breach of the constitution.

4. Section (4) of Article (126) of the Iraqi Constitution prohibits the Federal Authorities from limiting or reducing the powers of the Kurdistan Region. The Constitution even does not allow any amendment of the Constitution that result in the reduction of the powers of the Kurdistan Region.

5. In addition to the repetition of the same flaws of previous years in the draft budget bill of 2018, now the above mentioned “unconstitutional points” have been added to the bill.

Taking the above constitutional references into consideration and on the basis of Iraqi Prime Minister, Mr. Haider Al-Abadi’s statements of not intending to harm Kurdistan Region people, we ask the Federal Iraqi Council of Ministers to communicate and negotiate with the Kurdistan Region’s Council of Ministers in order to redraft the federal budget bill within the framework of the constitution and a fair allocation of budget to the Kurdistan Region.

Kurdistan Region Council of Ministers
1 November 2017