Public anger rises over employee pay cut
Public anger rises day by day as publicsector employees in the Kurdistan Region do not know when they are going to be paid each month. The Kurdistan Region has faced money shortages and an economic crisis since Iraq’s central government decided to stop sending the Kurdistan Region’s share of the national budget.
Baghdad and the Kurdistan Region are quarrelling over an oil dispute as Iraq’s Prime Minister Maliki wants Kurdistan Region oil to be sold under the supervision of Iraq’s government, while Kurdistan want to control their own oil product revenues.
The biggest victims of the BaghdadKurdistan Region issues are public sector employees, who face delays in receiving their monthly pay.
In a statement released on the KRG`s official website, a KRG spokesman said: «We would not have expected such a decision from Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister, as he has lived in Kurdistan and graduated from Erbil. It is surprising that he would let a political disputes affect people>s daily lives and cut the salaries of KRG employees.»
Ongoing disputes between Erbil and Baghdad regarding the Kurdistan Region>s share of the Iraqi budget have worsened as the draft has still to be ratified in the Iraqi parliament. Moreover, Maliki continues to threaten the KRG with salary cuts.
Erbil officials state that Baghdad>s decision to withhold the Kurdistan Region>s share of the Iraqi budget is neither constitutional nor legal.
The issues of employee pay cuts have stirred many people in different positions to speak out and protest. At a press conference held in Erbil on March 4, Adnan Anwar Bag, the head of Civil Society Organizations in the Kurdistan Region, condemned Baghdad’s decision.
“We never believed the day would come when Baghdad withholds our employees’ pay. It is unbelievable,” said Anwar Bag, who called on Iraq’s central government to resume the payment of Kurdistan Region salaries.
Anwar Bag also said if the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) prevents Dukan Lake water from flowing to other Iraq’s provinces, using use water as a pressure card, the situation can only deteriorate. Moreover, oil production in Kirkuk province would be negatively affected.
Many people think Iraq should not be ruled by a single person--the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein in the country was proof that this is not the way to go.
Anwar Bag noted that people in the Kurdistan Region are angry with Prime Minister Maliki: “If PM Maliki des not suspend his decision, people’s reactions will become harsh and more serious,” he warned.