Iraqi parliament’s finance committee, ministers discuss draft budget law

Iraqi parliament’s committee of finance meets seven ministers to discuss federal budget bill, March 27, 2021. (NINA)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iraqi parliament’s committee of finance and seven ministers met on Saturday to discuss the draft federal budget law.

The committee of finance held a meeting with ministers of finance, oil, planning, electricity, trade, construction and housing, municipalities and labor and social affairs as well as the head of the federal service council, the Iraqi parliament’s press office said in a statement.

The meeting was to “finalize the draft federal budget law for 2021,” the statement read.

On Friday, the Iraqi Council of Representatives said it would convene on Sunday to vote on the federal budget bill.

Iraqi parties including Kurds have yet to reach a final agreement on the budget bill. Despite an agreement between a Kurdish government’s delegation and Shia parties on March 19, the deal unraveled the next day. Kurdish officials have said the Shia parties had added another term to the agreement.

The delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani is expected to visit Baghdad on Saturday for more talks on Kurdistan Region’s share of the federal budget.

According to the new agreement, first section of article 11 of the budget states that the entitlements of the Kurdistan Region and the federal government between 2014 and 2020 should be settled.

The second section of Article 11 includes five points. First point estimates the amount of oil production at the Kurdistan Region’s oilfields at 460,000 barrel per day (bpd). The Kurdistan Region is committed to export no less than 250,000 barrels through SOMO after costs of production, transfers, local usage, and petrodollars are taken out from the 460,000 bpd.

The second point says the first point will be implemented in coordination between the Iraqi oil minister and the Kurdistan Region’s ministry of natural resources.

The third point commits the Kurdistan Region to hand over non-oil revenue to the federal government in accordance with the financial management law.

In the fourth point, the KRG is obliged to repay loans of the Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI) through annual installments, starting from 2021.

The last point abides the federal government by paying the Kurdistan Region’s financial entitlements when the second point of this article is implemented.

The third section of article 11 commits the KRG to pay salaries of its public sectors.

Two more articles are added to the draft budget law, committing the KRG to send names and information about civil and military employees to the Iraqi ministry of finance and economy.

*This story was updated at 04:48 p.m. EBL time 

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