Iraq budget: KRG finance ministry officials join Baghdad talks

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraq’s 2019 budget bill has found few fans among Kurdish, Sunni, and Basrawi MPs in the Baghdad parliament. A delegation from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Ministry of Finance arrived in the federal capital on Sunday to join talks addressing its shortcomings. 

Fuad Hussein, Iraq’s newly appointed finance minister, hosted the meeting, according to a ministry statement. 

The ministry pointed out the budget bill was prepared by the previous government of Haider al-Abadi. Iraq’s parliament sent it back because it contained several constitutional violations and shortcomings. 

“Within this context, Mr. deputy minister of finance emphasized the necessity to deal with the budget bill in light of the governmental manifesto put forth by Mr. prime minister, which emphasizes on establishing a clear program to build, rebuild, provide services, develop investment and fight corruption,” the statement read.

Also attending the meeting were the general coordinator for the affairs of governorates Torhan Mufti, the ministry undersecretary, several provincial governors, provincial finance directorate generals, ministries, and representatives from the Kurdistan Region.

Kurds want their share of the federal budget increased to its original 17 percent after it was cut to 12 percent, while Sunnis want more budget dedicated to their war-ravaged provinces. MPs from Basra want more for their province, arguing it provides the bulk of Iraq’s revenue through its oilfields and sea port.

The Kurdish delegation also met with the parliamentary Finance Committee.

“At first, we as members of the Iraqi parliament’s Finance Committee met with the delegation for the purpose of discussing the Kurdistan Region’s share and have given all the date and information about the bill to the ministry of finance’s delegation,” Ahmed Haji Rashid, Komal MP, told Rudaw.

This is the first time that a delegation from the KRG’s Ministry of Finance has met with Kurdish representatives concerning the Iraqi budget bill.

Parliament meets on Monday to discuss the budget bill.  

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