Finance Minister in Iraqi Kurdistan summoned for hearing before Parliament 10/7/2015
Finance Minister in Iraqi Kurdistan summoned for hearing before Parliament
ERBIL-Hewler, Kurdistan region ‘Iraq’,— Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament has ordered the region’s finance minister to appear before lawmakers for a hearing on issues facing the region as anti-government demonstrations grow in Kurdish cities. Parliament leaders met with political party heads on Tuesday and demanded Minister Rebaz Mohammed Hamlan be present in Parliament on Thursday to answer questions on the Kurdistan Region’s economic crisis. Officials have also summoned members of the finance and natural resources committees to face questioning on delayed salaries for government employees and oil sales. A growing number of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) civil servants, including teachers, are going on strike after not receiving salaries for the last three months. Head of the KRG’s Foreign Relations Department Falah Mustafa Bakir admitted before the U.N. General Assembly last week that his government is three months behind on paying out salaries, including for Peshmerga fighting on the frontlines against the Islamic State (IS).
“This, combined with the fall in oil prices and the costly war against IS, are impacting services to the host and refugee communities and hampering Kurdistan’s vibrant economy,” Bakir said at the U.N.’s 70th General Assembly on October 3.
On Sunday, KRG Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani said KRG expenses are greater than its income, acknowledging his government’s “obvious economic issues.’
“We are trying to strike a balance between expenses and income to reduce the budget deficit,” he said.
Parliament Speaker Yousif Mohammed said in September that officials cannot avoid responsibility in solving the region’s financial issues and should be open if they are not capable of fixing the ongoing economic crisis.
“With $20 billion in debt, a government three months behind on employee payments, a government which cannot manage its projects really needs to admit its responsibility,” Mohammed said.