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Iraq says reduction of Kurdistan’s budget share not final

The Council of Ministers headed by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.


Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Iraq said Wednesday that the reduction of the share of Kurdistan Region in Iraq’s proposed 2018 budget is still a matter of speculation.

Mazhar Mohamed Saleh, an Iraqi cabinet adviser, said in press statements that media reports about the reduction of Kurdistan Region’s share in the 2018 budget bill from 17% to 12% was still a talk about “drafts that have not been adopted by the government yet”, adding that talks in that respect remain “mere speculations”.

Saleh conditioned that the region hands over its revenues to the state treasury in return for ensuring its share in the budget. “The Iraqi government will handle the region’s share as any other province,” he stated.

“The government sets the budget based on the size of provinces’ populations, and applying that criterion, its (Kurdistan’s) share could drop to nearly 13% of the total budget,” Saleh added.

In a press conference on Monday, Kurdistan Region’s Prime Minister, Nechirvan Barzani, said his government was ready to give up control over oil revenues from the region to Baghdad should the latter allocate 17% of the budget to the region.

A political crisis, a later a military standoff, erupted after Erbil ran a popular referendum in September where it said 92 voted for independence from Iraq. The government in Baghdad has rejected the vote as unconstitutional, and replied with retaking territories where sovereignty is disputed with Erbil, including oil facilities.

Abadi has regularly accused Kurdish officials of seizing oil revenues illicitly, and both governments have for long disputed over a fair mechanism of sharing the profit.

 


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