Kurdistan employees to get equal allowances as Baghdad
Dler Tariq, Media and Public Relations Director and the spokesperson of Ministry of Finance and Economy of Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) stated in an interview with the Kurdish Globe that his ministry is unable to specify when the government loan plans will resume.
Tariq, moreover, told the Globe that the basic salaries of KRG and Iraqi Government employees are the same and 90% of their allowances are unified. This, according to him, means that any decision made in Baghdad about salaries and allowances of public employees will similarly apply to Kurdistan Region.
Q: Both Baghdad and Kurdistan 2013 budgets have been approved. Why have the housing, marriage, agriculture and industrial loans not resumed till now?
A: Even The Ministry of Finance does not know when exactly the loans will resume, but it should be in the coming days. The ministry should meet with the reserve, accounting director and the ministry’s institutions to discuss the procedures for the loans. Later they will be given a written order to resume the loan plans.
Q: Was the decision to hold the loans related to the delay in approving Iraq’s budget?
A: Both in Baghdad and the Region the loans de- pend on budget approval, to allow time for the financial settlement of previous year.
Q: Last year housing allowance for the districts and sub-districts was IQD 20 million [approximately US$ 17,000], while this year it will be IQD 25 million. Will this IQD 5 million be refunded to last year’s beneficiaries?
A: No, this will stay as it was, except for those who have been forced to relocate from their own residency place, who will get the extra IQD 5 million.
Q: Has approving Baghdad’s budget after Region’s budget affect the liquidity in the Region’s banks due to shortage of funds from Baghdad?
A: Till Baghdad budget was approved, Region’s share used to be sent on 1/12 installments. The issues in Kurdistan banks were similarly faced in Baghdad. They also have sent 1/12 of ministries’ budgets. This means that there would be a shortage of funds. During the first three months, Kurdistan has received IQD 600 billion [approximately US$ 500 million] less than what it should have received.
Q: So, when Iraq’s Presidency approves the budget, the situations will return to normal?
A: Yes, it will become normal again and Baghdad will send 3 installments per month, to become a total of 36 installments during the whole years. Baghdad never sends all the funds at once, to restrict liquidity in the Region.
Q: Are there any unfinished projects from previous years that have been put on hold due to delays in budget?
A: No, continuous projects have been regularly funded. New projects, however shall commence following budget approval.
Q: Are there efforts to increase Region’s salaries in 2013 and unify with those in Baghdad?
A: The pay-scale system in Baghdad and Kurd- istan are the same. But the allowances still need to be unified. Region’s budget addresses this issue. Hence we believe that 90% of the allowances are now adjusted to match those of the central government. If an allowance is not paid in KRG while it is in Baghdad, we have asked to be paid here as well. However, this should be approved by the Iraqi parliament and government, rather than a decision by an individual minister or official in the central government from his ministry’s budget. Kurdistan Region will follow the central government pay-scale system.