Sunny Kurdish economy in 2015!
Has the quagmire between Baghdad and Erbil ended after Haider Al Abadi took the prime ministerial position? What are the subsequent economic changes for Kurdistan?
After Prime Minister Noor Al Maliki stepped down from his position, the Kurdistan Region and many countries like Iran and the United States breathed a sigh of relief. Maliki had slowly turned relations from bad to worse. The economy was worst hit, as the allocated 17% share of Kurdistan from the Iraqi budget was never handed out easily and several deductions were made before it actually reached its destination. On average around 11 to 12 billion dollars was sent per annum. 70% of that amount went to the payment of the 1.2 million Kurdish government employees. That didn’t leave much money for economic growth. The final nail in the coffin was when Maliki stopped sending Kurdistan’s budget share all together around February 2014.
It may seem too optimistic, but even though Haider Al Abadi is from the same political party as Maliki, but when he assumed premiership it seemed that prosperity would return to Kurdistan. Reaching an agreement with the Kurds over Iraqi cabinet positions was critical, the appointment of Hoshyar Al Zibari a Kurd as Minister of Finance was favorable. In addition, Adil Abdul Mahdi, a key supporter of the Kurds, was made minister of oil. Much needed budgetary payments have now returned to pay the outstanding wages.
The biggest breakthrough is set to come after the new year with the 2015 budget just around the corner. Around 22 billion dollars will be paid to the Kurds per annum, instead of the measly 11 billion during Maliki’s time. This is much welcomed news after the depressing events of I.S.I.S and the recent explosion in Erbil. The Kurdish people are looking forward to some relief from the economic troubles. Already there is a surge in the market and a return of consumer confidence.