KRG Reform and Fitness
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.