Iraqi Cabinet Approves Federal Budget for 2016
Budget includes 17% for Kurdistan Region in return for oil

Basnews | Luke Coleman views 19.10.2015 14:07

BAGHDAD The cabinet of Iraq’s federal government has approved a 2016 budget and has sent it to the Parliament to ratify.

The budget will run at a deficit of almost $20 billion according to government spokesperson Saad al-Hadithi. He told Associated Press that the shortfall will be covered by loans from local and international lenders.

Included in the near $91 billion budget is the long-argued 17% allocation for the Kurdistan Region, on the proviso that it adheres to the December 2014 agreement to sell 550,000 barrels of oil per day through the State Organisation for Marketing Oil. Neither Baghdad nor the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Erbil have managed to honour the arrangement which has been broken since the date it was signed.

In its latest report the KRG’s Ministry of Natural Resources published figures exceeding 600,000 bpd, the majority of which was sold on international markets through the Turkish port of Ceyhan. It signalled that it was prepared to resolve the dispute with Baghdad, saying that it saw “an opportunity for solid progress in the forthcoming discussions over the 2016 federal budget.”

The 2016 budget is based on the price of oil averaging just $45 per barrel. Oil makes up 95% of the country’s budget.