Kur­dish govern­ment pledges year of ‘re­form and mod­ern­iza­tion’

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE -

In an at­tempt to over­come a fi­nan­cial cri­sis and sta­bi­lize the econ­omy, the Kur­dish govern­ment launched the first step of its wide-rang­ing re­form pro­gram start­ing with the re­struc­tur­ing of the fi­nance min­istry.

Kur­dis­tan Re­gion Prime Min­is­ter Nechir­van Barzani said the re­form pro­gram starts with mod­ern­iz­ing the fi­nance min­istry, which would be a step­ping-stone for fur­ther re­form in all other sec­tors.

Barzani said that his cab­i­net was com­mit­ted to strength­en­ing the fi­nan­cial and ad­min­is­tra­tive sec­tor that would in­clude re­draw­ing the work of pub­lic banks and throw­ing full sup­port be­hind the pri­vate sec­tor.

He is com­mit­ted to open and trans­par­ent gov­er­nance, he added.

“This will help us cre­ate a sus­tain­able and mod­ern econ­omy,” said Barzani. “And it will cre­ate a healthy and com­pet­i­tive job and in­vest­ment en­vi­ron­ment.”

Speak­ing to a group of cab­i­net min­is­ters, in­vestors and politi­cians in Er­bil on Wed­nes­day, the prime min­is­ter said that the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion is work­ing on an all-en­com­pass­ing re­form plan to help the re­gion move be­yond its cur­rent cri­sis and en­cour­age growth.

From 2006-2014 there was more than $30 bil­lion worth of in­vest­ment in the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion, $5 bil­lion of it for­eign in­vest­ment, which went hand-in-hand with so­cial de­vel­op­ment, said Barzani.

“But in the mean­time we have to look back on our mis­takes and op­por­tu­ni­ties for re­form which we failed to seize on time,” he said.

“This will be the year of re­form and mod­ern­iza­tion,” vowed the prime min­is­ter.

“We will pur­sue a pol­icy of poverty re­duc­tion and strength­en­ing of the pro­duc­tion sec­tor,” he said. Barzani said that the re­form pro­gram would work with pro­fes­sional syn­di­cates, in­vestors and academics.

The Kur­dish govern­ment has been un­der se­vere fi­nan­cial strain for al­most two years af­ter Bagh­dad blocked its share of the na­tional bud­get. The sharp de­cline in oil prices, Er­bil’s main source of in­come, has also hurt.

As part of its re­form plan, the Kur­dish govern­ment will take aus­ter­ity mea­sures, which in­cludes a tem­po­rary re­duc­tion in civil ser­vant salaries while urg­ing that the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity should help lessen Er­bil’s bur­den by shoul­der­ing some of the Pesh­merga ex­penses.

“The fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion is the big­gest threat to the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion,” said Barzani. “I there­fore ask the coali­tion coun­tries to ac­tively sup­port the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion fi­nan­cially. Our brave Pesh­merga and the peo­ple ex­pect that of our al­lies.”

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