KRG spokesper­son talks about fuel price in­crease

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE -

The decision by the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Gov­ern­ment, at the end of Au­gust, to in­crease the price of gaso­line from IQD 800 (ap­prox­i­mately US$ 0.65) per liter to IQD 900, led to mas­sive pub­lic out­cry and demon­stra­tions in some ci­ties and towns across Kur­dis­tan Re­gion. Safeen Diza­yee, of­fi­cial spokesper­son of the KRG pub­lished a state­ment at the gov­ern­ment’s of­fi­cial web­site ex­plain­ing the ra­tio­nale be­hind the decision.

Diza­yee stated: “The Kur­dis­tan Par­lia­ment, hon­ored mem­bers of the in­dus­try, en­ergy and nat­u­ral re­sources com­mit­tee of the par­lia­ment, and every­body know very well the fact that: 1. Re­gional Gov­ern­ment is forced to spend mil­lions of dol­lars ev­ery day in the war for the needs of the Pesh­marga Forces who fight against ISIS; 2. Since Jan­uary this year, the Iraqi gov­ern­ment has cut Kur­dis­tan’s bud­get share, which has be­come the main fac­tor be­hind the fi­nan­cial cri­sis in the Re­gion; 3. All of the rev­enues from oil sales can­not even cover the gov­ern­ment salaries, which is more than IQD 850 bil­lion (ap­prox­i­mately US$ 650 mil­lion); 4. The gov­ern­ment has a huge bur­den of man­ag­ing and help­ing some 1.4 mil­lion Syr­ian and Iraqi and Kur­dish IDPs, which is sim­i­lar to adding one more prov­ince to the re­gion; 5. This sit­u­a­tion has, in some places such as Kirkuk, led to in­crease in gaso­line price up to IQD 1,200 (ap­prox­i­mately US$1); 6. While de­cid­ing the price for pub­lic trans­porta­tion ve­hi­cles such as taxis and buses, which is IQD500 (ap­prox­i­mately US$0.42) per liter, and the kerosene price of IQD 160 (ap­prox­i­mately US$0.12) per liter, we have con­sid­ered the low-in­come and poor peo­ple.”

Diza­yee also added that the sit­u­a­tion is out­side our con­trol and wish, oth­er­wise the gov­ern­ment al­ways tries, as it has tried be­fore, to pro­vide fuel, es­pe­cially gaso­line at a very low price to the pub­lic, but “in such hard sit­u­a­tions and due to this fi­nan­cial cri­sis and the points ex­plained above, the gov- ern­ment can­not sell fuel at pre­vi­ous prices, since it can­not sub­si­dize fuel by an amount of US$5bil­lion per year.”

KRG spokesper­son says his gov­ern­ment has spent US$1.15b only on pro­vid­ing fuel for traf­fic sec­tor, and it is not fair that all th­ese ex­pen­di­tures are ig­nored and the gov­ern­ment is blamed only for gaso­line.

The KRG of­fi­cial also claimed that gov­ern­ment needs to seek a so­lu­tion to re­duce all the support it gives for fuel sub­si­dies, oth­er­wise in the fu­ture it will not be able to meet its fi­nan­cial bur­den such as pay­ing salaries and sig­nif­i­cant pub­lic ex­pendi- tures. “All of th­ese is­sues have led to this in­crease in fuel prices and all the rel­e­vant par­ties inside the Par­lia­ment, gov­ern­ment and po­lit­i­cal groups know th­ese facts,” Diza­yee ar­gued. “Even any ob­server can eas­ily un­der­stand the sit­u­a­tion. The decision re­gard­ing fuel prices is a joint decision of all the par­tic­i­pat­ing par­ties of the gov­ern­ment. Any state­ment against this by any one is noth­ing but an at­tempt to score some cheap po­lit­i­cal points.”

Diza­yee con­cluded that till this cri­sis is over, the gov­ern­ment can­not re­duce fuel prices, since it has other pri­or­i­ties such as pro­tect­ing the se­cu­rity and lives of its peo­ple and sta­bil­ity of the re­gion.

“When­ever the cri­sis is over and prob­lems solved, the gov­ern­ment will def­i­nitely find an ac­cept­able so­lu­tion for the fuel cri­sis. ”

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