Baghdad owes us $3.1 billion from budget dispute, says KRG PM

KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani at MERI conference in Erbil on Oct 27, 2021 (photo credit: Twitter/ Masrour Barzani)

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SULAIMANI — Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani claimed on Wednesday (October 27) that Iraq’s federal government owes the KRG $3.1 billion as a result of budget disagreements.

The remark was made during an appearance at the Middle East Research Institute (MERI) conference in Erbil.

His claim is a reference to Baghdad’s decision in April 2020 to cut off all cash transfers to Erbil in response to the KRG not living up to its obligations under the 2019 Federal Budget Law over the previous nineteen months by refusing to send any oil to Iraq’s oil marketer SOMO.

Discussing his government’s middling economic performance, which has seen prices of basic commodities and fuel skyrocket and the KRG be unable to pay its public servants or international oil companies, Barzani complained that he had "inherited many problems” from the previous government, which was led by his cousin Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani.

He further blamed the COVID-19 pandemic and the short-term drop in oil prices in the spring of 2020 for his performance.

"With all the problems we faced, our efforts to improve continued, although it was not an easy task," he said.

(NRT Digital Media)