Iraqi gov’t considering changes to 2018 budget to do KRG 'justice'

 Iraqi gov’t considering changes to 2018 budget to do KRG 'justice'

The Iraqi government is said to be considering changes to the draft of Iraq’s 2018 budget to meet the Kurdistan Region’s share on the basis of population in order to fulfill “justice”.

“To fulfill justice, the Kurdistan Region’s share in the budget will be changed to reflect its population compared to the rest of Iraq,” said Saad al-Hadithi, spokesperson of the Iraqi government in a press conference.

Baghdad’s draft 2018 budget law proposes cutting the Region’s share by a quarter – allocating 12.67 percent to the KRG, down from 17 percent.

“A last review of the 2018 budget will be done and once talks on the budget draft have been concluded in the Council of Ministries, it will be sent to the parliament in the coming days,” al-Hadithi added.

The cabinet of ministers of the Kurdish government in Erbil has dismissed the drafting of Iraq’s 2018 budget without Kurdish participation as violation of the constitution and the country’s financial laws, urging Baghdad to give the region its fair share of the national budget.

The KRG says that Baghdad “must give Kurdistan Region its fair share of the budget, especially given that there isn’t an accurate census in Iraq but 17 percent of Iraq’s population has been agreed on in the constitution,”

The KRG has stated it has about 1.2 million people on its payroll who will cost Baghdad $771 million a month.

KRG officials had long complained that Baghdad never sent Erbil its full 17 percent in the past, but this is the first time to official reduce the share by law since the constitution was passed in 2005.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has described the KRG's demand to receive 17 percent of the 2018 Iraqi budget as “unjust”.