HEADLINES:

KRG Council of Ministers fails to agree on salary disbursements, cuts and postpones weekly meeting

2020-08-12

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SULAIMANI — A regularly scheduled weekly meeting of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Council of Ministers was postponed on Wednesday (August 12) amid disagreements within the cabinet over whether to cut pay for public sector workers and when to distribute salaries.

A source in the Council of Ministers told NRT Digital Media that that public sector workers will not be paid this week because of the disagreement.

The Council is expected to reconvene next week to reengage on the issue.

In late April, the federal government ran out of patience with the KRG’s refusal to abide by the terms of the 2019 Federal Budget Law, which mandated that Erbil send 250,000 barrels of crude oil per day to Baghdad for export, and stopped all transfers, except for a one-time 400 billion Iraqi dinar infusion.

Meanwhile, oil prices have dropped significantly since the beginning of the year, meaning that the KRG cannot rely on independent oil sales to bring in revenue.

Pressed by a resulting budget shortfall, the government has only paid its hundreds of thousands of workers twice since February.

After missing disbursements in March and April and under increasing public pressure, the government made a disbursement in May.

On June 21, it announced that it would cut the salaries of public sector workers who earn more than 300,000 Iraqi dinars by 21 percent.

The announcement prompted a round of protests in Sulaimani, which largely faded after salaries were paid in mid-July.

The KRG has previously said that salary disbursements will be based on its financial ability to pay.

Talks between the KRG and the federal government to resolve their budget dispute continue at a low level, but without a face-to-face meeting since late June.

(NRT Digital Media)