Baghdad Swallows Seven Trillion Dinars
|December 29, 2011||Filled under Iraq Daily News|
“Technical” trickery used by Baghdad to divvy up the Regions’ share of the 2011 budget.
Although Iraq’s 2012 budget is much higher than that of last year, this increase did not increase Kurdistan Region’s budget proportionately.
Out of Iraq’s 2012 budget, which is 117 trillion Iraqi dinars (approximately 100 billion USD), KRG will only receive 12.6 trillion IQD, which amounts to some 10.7% of the total budget. This is while constitutionally Kurdistan Region should receive 17% of Iraq’s budget every year.
If all 17% were given to Kurdistan, its budget would have been 19.9 trillion IQD. This means that 7.3 trillion of the Region’s budget has been reduced.
Ahmed Chawsheen, member of Iraqi Parliament and Deputy Chair of the Finance Committee, stated in an interview with “The Kurdish Globe” that Baghdad used a technical trick to reduce Kurdistan’s budget.”This year Baghdad has increased the sovereign budgets extraordinarily to push Kurdistan Region’s share down as much as possible,” explained MP Chawsheen.
According to the Constitution, the budget specified for the presidential offices, i.e., the sovereign budget, should be allocated before calculating regional and provincial budget shares.
MP Chawsheen, who is an economic expert, argues that the sovereign budget has been intentionally increase that much, “otherwise a large part of the budget allocated for this purpose could be allocated through budgets of ministries or other government institutions.
For 2012, Baghdad has allocated some 40 trillion Iraqi dinars for such sovereign purposes. Out of this, 7 trillion has been allocated to the National Defense System, while not one penny has been allocated for Kurdistan Region’s Peshmarga Force, which is constitutionally part of the National Defense System.
KRG Peshmarga Ministry Spokesperson JabbarYawar states that they did not receive any budget from Baghdad, not even last year.
Though Iraqi authorities, namely the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, claim that Kurdistan Region receives 17% of the country’s annual budget, according to Chawsheen, since 2004 Kurdistan’s budget has been between 10 to 12% of the national budget.
Chawsheen told the “Globe” that–according to a paragraph in Article 14 of the draft budget, the National and Regional Financial Audit bureaus calculate the federal revenues collected in Kurdistan and ask the Regional Ministry of Finance to send them back to Baghdad on a monthly basis.
The revenues this paragraph address include revenues of the border points and government charges, which are described in the paragraph as federal budget that should go into the national reserve.
Though Baghdad is trying to calculate and monitor Kurdistan Region revenues in detail, it has failed to calculate its share in the budget with the same level of detail and accuracy.
In Article 2 of the draft, 34 billion Iraqi dinars of Kurdistan’s budget are miscalculated. The article is about paying 1 USD per each barrel of oil exported. In this article, Kurdistan’s petro dollar budget is estimated to be 41.35 billion, while as per an agreement between Erbil and Baghdad, Kurdistan will be producing and exporting 175,000 barrels of oil per day.
According to MP Chawsheen, if KRG exports 175,000 barrels of oil per day, its petro dollar share would reach 75.18 billion Iraqi dinars.
The Deputy Chair of Iraqi Parliament’s Finance Committee added that in last year’s budget draft, 44 billion IQD was deducted from Provincial Development budget.”After I found that out and raised the issue, they added 8 billion to the budget, but they have not yet paid the remaining 36 billion IQD.
MP Chawsheen sees this as vast discrimination against the region and its people, and urges Kurdish authorities to put all their efforts together to win their rights back.
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