Commitment to budget law brings economic stability, say PUK co-leaders

A combined picture of Iraqi President Barham Salih (R), Kurdistan Region Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani and PUK Co-leaders Bafel Talabani and Lahur Sheikh Jangi

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) co-leaders met with Iraqi President Barham Salih in Sulaimani on Saturday, saying commitment to the budget law would bring economic stability to the country. 

The Iraqi Council of Representatives approved on Wednesday the federal budget of 130 trillion Iraqi dinars ($89.65 billion) as the country wrestles with an economic and financial crisis due to low crude prices. The budget deficit is estimated at 28.7 trillion Iraqi dinars ($19.79 billion).

PUK co-leaders Bafel Talabani and Lahur Sheikh Jangi alongside Kurdistan Region’s Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, who led a high-level delegation for negotiations with Baghdad over the Region’s share of the budget, met with Salih in Mergapan area in Sulaimani.

The co-leaders extended their gratitude to the Iraqi president for his “patriotic & decisive efforts in bringing the differing ideas closer together to pass the law,” Sheikh Jangi said in a tweet.

“Approval of the budget is an important step toward improving lives and livelihood of people and ending cuts of employees’ salaries and reviving the economic sector,” a statement said.

“Commitment to the budget law will bring economic stability and will end the financial issues that people and employees have faced for a long time,” the statement read.

After months of wrangling, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the central government reached an agreement on thorny issues, including oil and non-oil revenues.

Under the 2021 budget law, the Kurdistan Region will be committed to produce 460,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd).

After deducting expenses for production operations in the Region, transport of oil and the domestic consumption of crude oil, the KRG must hand over to Baghdad revenues generated from regional oil exports of 250,000 bpd, according to Iraq’s SOMO pricing, as well as 50 percent of non-oil revenue.

The Kurdistan Region, in return, will receive its share of the budget, which is set at 13.9%.

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