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Baghdad retained portion of 200bn IQD transfer to repay loan owed by Erbil: KRG advisor

Rebaz Hamlan, An economic advisor to Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani (File)
PM:10:41:18/07/2021

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SULAIMANI — An economic advisor to Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani said on Sunday (July 18) that Iraq’s federal government transferred 180 billion Iraqi dinars ($123 million) to the Kurdistan Region, not the 200 billion dinars ($137 million) that was announced.

During an appearance on NRT’s Tawtwe interview program, advisor Rebaz Hamlan explained that Baghdad kept 20 billion Iraqi dinars ($13 million) of the expected total and used that to repay a money owed to the Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI) by the KRG

He also clarified that last week’s transfer is not the Region’s budget share, but rather a stipend that Baghdad is paying to Erbil.

Hamlan said that the KRG Council of Ministers will meet after Eid al-Adha, which begins on Tuesday, about public sector salaries and could decide to end or reduce unpopular cuts if the government’s income exceeds 897 billion Iraqi dinars ($615 million) per month.

During 2020, the KRG struggled to pay salaries to its public sector workers, missing five monthly disbursements entirely and cutting four others by nearly a quarter. Government employees have had their pay cut by twenty-one percent each month so far this year.

The salary cuts have had a significant effect on the economy of the Kurdistan Region because of the KRG’s role as the Region’s most important employer.

Average household employment income has fallen by a third in the Region since March 2020, according to UN agencies.

(NRT Digital Media)