Baghdad sends money to Erbil
Deputy Iraqi Finance Minister Fazil Nabi says Baghdad owes a lot of money to the Kurdistan Region, but it is not clear when it is going to pay it back.
Nabi, who did not clearly know how much money Baghdad owes Erbil, said that the only payments made to Erbil in 2014 were January and February salaries, approximating to IQD 1.1 trillion, i.e. USD 1 billion, in addition to the USD 500 million that was sent recently.
He said to calculate the total amounts due to Kurdistan, a mutual committee from both governments should meet and discuss the issue.
Regarding the 2015 budget draft, Nabi said that last week a ministerial committee, headed by Iraqi Finance Minister Hoshyar Zebari, including a number of other ministers met to decide to cut the budget.
“The committee has met with about 10 ministries to date and they will meet the others in the near future,” Nabi said in an interview with a local Kurdish daily newspaper. "We are trying to submit the draft to the Ministerial Council in the coming days for approval and final submission to the Parliament.”
Talking about the repayment time and arrangements of the debts, Deputy Finance Minister said,"since Baghdad is already going through a financial crisis it is not easy to pay back all this debt together and it is not clear how and when it will be paid back." Howeve, he said starting from 2015 Iraq will pay the Region's budget share on time to pay for the salaries and all other government expenditures. So, Nabi reiterated that 2015 salaries will be paid on time to the Kurdish employees.
Nabi denied the news that Baghdad will appoint new employees for KRG out of the 108 thousand new positions for the Central Government. He said, "KRG will receive its 17% of the budget and will have to plan its recruitment according to its needs and to pay for that from its own budget."
Reports said recently that salaries of all government employees of Iraq and Kurdistan will be raised from January 1, 2015. Nabi said there is no such a thing, and due to the financial situation that the country is going through now, it is very difficult to pay any increase.
He claimed that Iraq needs one or two more years to recover from the financial crisis it is currently facing.