MNR Wel­comes pas­sage of Oil & Gas Rev­enue Fund Law through Kur­dis­tan Par­lia­ment

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS -

The Min­istry of Nat­u­ral Re­sources (MNR) wel­comes the pas­sage of the Oil & Gas Rev­enue Fund law through the Kur­dis­tan Par­lia­ment and con­grat­u­lates the peo­ple of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion, the mem­bers of par­lia­ment, and the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Gov­ern­ment Coun­cil of Min­is­ters for the en­try of the law into the Re­gion’s statute books. MNR will en­sure that the new leg­is­la­tion is im­ple­mented as soon as pos­si­ble.

The Oil and Gas Rev­enue Fund law au­tho­rizes the Coun­cil of Min­is­ters to nom­i­nate a board, ap­proved by the Par­lia­ment, that will pro­vide public ac­counts for the rev­enue that the KRG ac­crues from oil ex­ports, re­fined prod­ucts, and oil com­pany bonuses within the frame­work of the KRG’s oil and gas con­tracts, the Kur­dis­tan Oil and Gas Law no 22 of 2007 and the Iraq Con­sti­tu­tion of 2005.

The Oil and Gas Rev­enue Fund is an im­por­tant in­sti­tu­tional devel­op­ment in the KRG, and was in­sti­gated and spon­sored by MNR to bol­ster trans­parency in the oil and gas sec­tor.

Un­der the Law, oil rev­enues may be al­lo­cated for the fol­low­ing cat­e­gories: the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion's an­nual bud­get; IN­VEST­MENT spend­ing; oil in­fra­struc­ture; en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion; and a “fu­ture gen­er­a­tion’s” wealth fund.

The Fund will act as an ac­count­ing mech­a­nism and will im­prove public un­der­stand­ing of how much money the KRG gen­er­ates from its in­de­pen­dent oil ex­ports and re­fined prod­ucts. It will also lead to greater public aware­ness that oil rev­enues are trans­ferred and au­dited in line with in­ter­na­tional stan­dards.

MNR fore­saw the need for such a rev­enue law and in­serted a pro­vi­sion in this re­gard in Ar­ti­cle 16 of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion’s Oil and Gas Law no 22 of 2007.

Un­der MNR’s ini­tia­tive, the first draft of the law was sub­mit­ted to par­lia­ment in 2011, but the par­lia­ment term ended be­fore that law could be de­bated.

The draft was then re­drawn by MNR and the Coun­cil of Min­is­ter’s legal ad­vi­sors, and re­turned to par­lia­ment in early 2013. There were ini­tial dis­cus­sions, but the draft again got stuck and the par­lia­ment fin­ished with­out pass­ing it into law.

The Coun­cil of Min­is­ters sub­se­quently with­drew the draft law to make it con­sis­tent with Law No 5 of 2013, and re­turned it to par­lia­ment in Oc­to­ber 2014. Over the last 6 months, the new draft law was dis­cussed and de­bated in de­tail by MPs, who voted it through last week.

Wel­com­ing the new leg­is­la­tion, Nat­u­ral Re­sources Min­is­ter Ashti Hawrami said: “This is an im­por­tant for the peo­ple of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion. It is an­other build­ing block in the in­sti­tu­tional devel­op­ment of our oil and gas sec­tor. It will aid public un­der­stand­ing of the in­flows and out­flows of oil rev­enues, and it is in line with Kur­dis­tan’s oil and gas law and the Iraqi Con­sti­tu­tion.”

Min­is­ter Hawrami added that other leg­is­la­tion pro­vided for in the Oil & Gas Law of 2007 re­mained pending in par­lia­ment, in­clud­ing an MNR-spon­sored bill to es­tab­lish the Kur­dis­tan Ex­plo­ration and Pro­duc­tion Com­pany (KEPCO). An­other MNR-spon­sored bill re­lat­ing to the of­fi­cial mar­ket­ing of Kur­dis­tan’s oil (KOMO) is ready to be sent to par­lia­ment soon. “We hope the Kur­dis­tan Par­lia­ment will give pri­or­ity to de­bat­ing th­ese im­por­tant draft laws as soon as pos­si­ble,” Min­is­ter Hawrami said.

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