KRG PM says government to take new mechanism to impose taxes

KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani and Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani arrive in the Kurdistan Parliament, October 5, 2020. (Ayub Ali)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani addressed the Kurdistan Parliament on Monday, saying the government will take a new mechanism to impose taxes on companies.

The Kurdistan Parliament held a session at 10:00 a.m. at the requested of the Region’s prime minister. Barzani, Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani and Minister of Finance and Economy Awat Sheikh Janab will answer questions from lawmakers during the session.

In his remarks, the prime minister focused on the KRG’s efforts to collect taxes and customs from companies operating in the Kurdistan Region.

The prime minister said the KRG had formed a committee to review the process of collecting taxes and customs from those companies.

“The government will take a new mechanism to collect taxes and loans,” the premier said, adding that at least 49 communications companies had been informed to pay taxes and seven more were sued.

Regarding border crossings, Barzani said a committee had been formed to investigate and prevent smuggling on the border crossings.

On Sept. 13, the KRG Ministry of Finance and Economy said it was able to expose a smuggling and counterfeiting network that had printed hundreds of millions of Iraqi dinars on the border crossings.

Referring to the KRG’s loans, Barzani said the sum of loans on the government is amounted to $28 billion. He also added that the government owes more than $8.966 billion of public servants, which were withheld in the previous cabinet due to the economic crisis.

In May, Barzani said the KRG was $27 billion in debt, after it was forced to take out more loans to honor its immediate obligations.

KRG had hoped for some economic relief from talks with the federal government over longstanding budget and oil issues.

But Baghdad is facing a similar fiscal crisis as a result of the sharp fall in oil revenues and the collapse of religious tourism, the second-largest contributor to Iraq’s economy.

“The KRG has no financial savings or reserves,” Barzani added, noting that 47 percent of oil revenue in 2019 was paid to the international oil companies operating in the Region.

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