KRG Re­form and Fit­ness

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - By Gazi Has­san

In the last two weeks, the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Govern­ment has quickly be­gun meet­ings and con­fer­ences for car­ry­ing out needed re­forms and bud­getary re­vi­sions. Th­ese meet­ings have sought to re­vise the ad­min­is­tra­tive model, erad­i­cate cor­rup­tion, and re­duce govern­ment of­fices, min­istries, di­rec­to­ries, and ve­hi­cles. In the past years, due to the rise in­come and the large KRG bud­get, the govern­ment has be­come so over­weight it was in fear of hav­ing a stroke.

The large KRG bud­get, in ad­di­tion to ex­pen­sive ar­chi­tec­tural projects and in­creased for­eign in­vest­ment, gave Bagh­dad fear, which led to even­tu­ally cut­ting off Er­bil’s bud­get—a func­tional fi­nan­cial em­bargo on the peo­ple of Kur­dis­tan.

Un­til now, the KRG has ben able to give se­cu­rity to the in­vestors who are com­ing to Kuris­tan; in ad­di­tion they’ve been able to of­fer job op­por­tu­ni­ties, es­tates, and even in­ter­est-free loans to lo­cal in­vestors. This sped up de­vel­op­ment in the KRG and the re­gion be­came a safe (and rare) haven of in­vest­ment into the Middle East. Yet now the re­gion is fac­ing sev­eral crises due to bud­get cuts, war with ISIS, and a drop in the price of oil. It’s reached the point that PM Nechir­van Barzani has said the fi­nan­cial cri­sis is more se­ri­ous than ISIS.

If this cri­sis isn’t ad­dressed in a timely man­ner, life won’t be the same. The crises have cre­ated a his­tor­i­cal op­por­tu­nity for Kur­dish au­thor­i­ties to take quick steps in two do­mains. First, it creates an op­por­tu­nity to set out prac­ti­cal re­forms. From th­ese re­forms would a new be­gin­ning of erad­i­cat­ing cor­rup­tion and, in that way, lead to no fur­ther de­lays in civil ser­vants’ pay­ment. Se­cond, this is an op­por­tu­nity to seek a so­lu­tion for political is­sues, par­tic­u­larly as the coun­try moves to­wards a ref­er­en­dum. So this is a good time in the midst of the fi­nan­cial strain and lack of cash in the govern­ment’s trea­suries. As a coun­try, we can be­gin to cut the fat and be­gin to lose weight, so to speak, by start­ing with cut­ting dis­pens­able of­fices and min­istries. Buy­ing com­mit­tees are the viruses of the govern­ment and must be erad­i­cated. The idea of re­turn­ing the ad­di­tional in­come to the bank should be­come the rule of the law—in the past this has been re­sisted.

When some­one is get­ting sick, he can think of do­ing ex­er­cise (re­form). Then he can bet­ter con­trol his de­sires. As when some­one has di­a­betes, he craves sweets. In fact, many govern­ment of­fi­cials have di­a­betes (so to speak), so they have to do ex­er­cise and lose weight.

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