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PM Barzani chairs cabinet meeting on public finances, fight against coronavirus pandemic

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (GOV.KRD) – Prime Minister Masrour Barzani chaired a video conference cabinet meeting today to discuss the Kurdistan Region’s financial situation in light of the coronavirus pandemic, its economic implications, the drop in oil prices and the government’s plans to reform public expenditure.

Prime Minister Barzani told the cabinet that despite the dramatic fall in revenues, the government will do all it can to ensure the region’s people are least affected. He added that the government’s current priorities cover public health, food and salaries.

Prime Minister Barzani said that economic diversification in all sectors, particularly agriculture, is at the heart of his cabinet’s agenda. Therefore, the government fully supports the programs of the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources.

The Kurdistan Regional Government decided unanimously that their main priority is keeping civil servants’ pay unchanged, while members of the cabinet agreed to offer half of their wages and bonuses for the next two months to the government treasury, for redistribution to low-income families.

The meeting reviewed and approved a draft proposal for implementing the KRG’s 2020 reform agenda, that would guarantee the salaries of public employees.

Prime Minister Barzani tasked a legal committee with finding a mechanism to alleviate the financial burdens on daily wage earners and tenants who have been affected by the lockdown against the coronavirus.

The KRG approved a motion by the Minister of Finance and Economy to reduce non-essential public and ministerial expenses in order to maintain the civil servant payroll.

The ministers of education and higher education presented a report on the state of schools and learning centers across the region, and the cabinet supported a plan for the consolidation of the school year through online courses.

The Minister of Health, Saman Hussein Muhammad, updated cabinet members on the fight against the coronavirus. The government backed an initiative that would allow the Ministry of Health to acquire all medical equipment and medicine in direct coordination with governors and district administration heads.

The Prime Minister and his cabinet applauded the heath and law enforcement agencies for their ceaseless efforts to keep members of the public safe, and called on everyone to continue complying with the government’s health instructions.

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Prime Minister Barzani sends Christian community Akitu New Year message

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (GOV.KRD) – I send my best wishes to our Assyrian and Chaldean brothers and sisters in the Kurdistan Region, and around the world, on Akitu New Year.

We hope their New Year is one of prosperity, which brings an end to the coronavirus pandemic that has gripped the Kurdistan Region and the whole world with serious economic consequences.

I call on everyone to keep complying with the regional government’s health instructions during this difficult time.

The Kurdistan Region is proud of being a shining example of religious coexistence. Our government is firmly committed to upholding the rights of all ethnic and religious groups in our society, while deepening interfaith and cultural coexistence.

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Prime Minister Barzani chairs meeting on coronavirus, economy

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (GOV.KRD) – Prime Minister Masrour Barzani chaired a video conference call meeting with members of his cabinet today.

The Prime Minister, and his deputy Qubad Talabani, spoke with ministers regarding the health authorities’ latest progress on combating the coronavirus, the government’s current and upcoming plans concerning the pandemic, and the implications on the Kurdistan Region’s economy following a drop in world oil prices.

Prime Minister Barzani thanked all government agencies, together with the health and law enforcement authorities, for their tireless work and dedication in keeping people safe. He stressed the importance of a continued supply of essentials to meet people’s daily needs and ensure food security.

The meeting also discussed the work of the Food and Medicine Committee, a reduction in public expenses and the importance of continued cooperation with the federal government.

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A Statement from Prime Minister Masrour Barzani

Erbil, Kurdistan Region Iraqi (GOV.KRD) – In a statement on Sunday, Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Masrour Barzani urged people to stay at home, follow the precautionary measures of the Health and Interior Ministries concerning the coronavirus, and keep themselves, their families and the people of the Kurdistan Region safe.

Full statement:

I ask everyone to follow the instructions of both the Health and Interior Ministries in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Despite previous warnings and the government’s strict measures, some people still continue to violate the regulations. They are not only putting their own lives at risk. They are also risking the lives of their relatives, and their fellow citizens in the Kurdistan Region.

Unfortunately, the number of infected cases in the Kurdistan Region as a whole, and Sulaimaniyah Province in particular, is rising. The reasons include lack of cooperation with relevant government agencies, and the violation of preventative measures by some people, especially at border crossings.

No personal interest justifies risking your own life, and other people’s lives. I therefore ask the relevant agencies to be more rigorous in implementing the government’s measures, and to take action against anyone who does not follow them.

I hope that our citizens are taking the threat of this pandemic seriously. The government will continue doing everything it can to protect people. However, we need to work together.

The capacity of the Kurdistan Region’s health system is limited, so it’s important to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Any negligence could have catastrophic consequences. Consequently, all individuals and parties should put aside their personal interests and make public wellbeing their priority, as no one is exempt from the consequences of this pandemic.

I urge the people of the Kurdistan Region to follow the government’s health instructions. I encourage you to stay at home, reduce contact with other people and avoid travelling anywhere.

I would like to thank the people of the Kurdistan Region for their resilience and applaud the health teams, doctors and nurses who are at the forefront of fighting this pandemic. I must also thank our law enforcement agencies, municipalities, electricity providers and all other service departments for working round the clock to save people’s lives and enforce the preventative measures.

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President Barzani Allocates Emergency Aid to Flood-Hit Dohuk Governorate

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, March 19, 2020

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani is closely monitoring the situation in Dohuk Governorate after heavy rains triggered floods and landslides that affected hundreds of families in different areas of the Governorate. President Barzani also announced an emergency aid package to assist with relief efforts in the affected areas.

On Thursday, the president spoke on the phone with Dohuk Governor, Farhad Atroshi, and expressed his condolences to the families of the two victims who lost their lives due to the flash floods that took place in Zakho and Semel areas of Dohuk. He followed up on the safety of the people affected, extent of damage, the ongoing rescue and relief efforts and ways to help the people affected.
The president announced an emergency fund of one billion Iraqi Dinars to be allocated to help with relief efforts in the damaged areas of Dohuk and reiterated the support of the Kurdistan Region Presidency with all the KRG institutions involved with helping the affected people.

Governor Atroshi expressed his appreciation to the president for his follow-up, support and financial assistance and updated the president on the latest developments and relief efforts.

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Prime Minister Masrour Barzani chairs cabinet meeting to assess anti-coronavirus measures, economic situation

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (GOV.KRD) – Prime Minister Masrour Barzani today chaired a special meeting to assess the implementation of the government’s regulations and preventative measures against the coronavirus and the overall economic situation. The meeting also reviewed people’s needs in terms of food, medicine and fuel.

On the health front, the Prime Minister conducted a video conference with the relevant authorities.

During the meeting, attended by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, Prime Minister Barzani praised the Kurdistan people’s resilience, and encouraged them to continue abiding by the rules and regulations set in place for public safety.

Prime Minister Barzani also praised government agencies, police, security and Peshmerga forces, as well as medical teams, for their ceaseless efforts to contain the coronavirus.

He also thanked investors and business owners who answered the government’s call to ease financial burdens on the general public.

At the meeting, it was decided to establish national assistance and fundraising campaigns under the direct supervision of the Council of Ministers. All collected funds will be fairly and transparently allocated across the region’s cities, towns and districts. This new plan will encompass individual and localised efforts already underway. Prime Minister Barzani called on the Federal Government of Iraq and the international community to assist the Kurdistan Region in this regard.

The finance, interior and Peshmerga ministries, together with the security forces, were tasked with establishing a convenient mechanism to pay Peshmerga, police and security forces salaries, in accordance with anti-coronavirus rules and regulations.

As part of implementing the government’s reform agenda, public finances will be overhauled and expenses reduced.

The KRG will continue working with the Federal Government towards guaranteeing the Kurdistan region’s budgetary share and constitutional rights.

The meeting concluded with plans for a special meeting on oil and gas, to study the reorganization of the sector’s revenues, its current financial situation and the coronavirus’ negative impact on world oil markets.

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A statement from the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region on the 32nd anniversary of the chemical bombing of Halabja

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (GOV.KRD) – Today marks 32 years since the tragic events that befell the city of Halabja – an attack that was a part of a larger plan of genocide against the Kurdish people. It was a horrific atrocity and remains a symbol to this day of all that the Kurds have suffered at the hands of our oppressors.

The Kurdistan Regional Government, which stands as a testament to the endurance and sacrifice of so many, will continue to do everything in its power to provide care and services to the families of the martyrs and the Anfal victims. Remembering these tragedies must galvanise us. It is only through unity and solidarity that we can overcome any hardships which Kurdistanis may face.

Today my thoughts are with the families of the martyrs of Halabja, and all the martyrs of Kurdistan.
Masrour Barzani
Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government

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PM Masrour Barzani speech on the coronavirus

My fellow citizens,

Today I want to speak to you directly about our response to combatting the coronavirus outbreak.

First, I want to thank you for complying with the public measures and advice in recent weeks put in place for your well-being. Your support and understanding are crucial to containing the spread of the virus.

I also want to thank the ministerial committee tasked with combatting the corona virus and other relevant authorities for their efforts not only to protect citizens, but in addressing citizens’ everyday supply needs. I also thank the Ministry of Interior, police and security services, and municipal bodies, as well as the Ministry of Health for their continued efforts in the field, day and night, in the service of the citizens. My thanks also go to the field and medical teams in the frontlines risking their lives for our safety.

It is clear that the Kurdistan Region, alongside the rest of the world, faces an unprecedented threat.

The Kurdistan Regional Government was one of the first in the world to take protective and health measures. We put in place an early emergency budget and immediately took steps to contain and delay the virus as soon as the danger became apparent, for instance by closing schools and universities, and cutting back and in some cases suspending government bodies; restricting border crossing movements; limiting public events and gatherings, and enforcing strict temperature controls at borders and airports. After assessing the situation, we have now restricted movements between provinces in Kurdistan and with the rest of Iraq. We are now at a stage where it is necessary to further restrict movements within cities and towns.

My fellow citizens,

We will do everything possible for your safety. These measures are in your interests. Restricting movement is for the sake of limiting physical contact and to locate those who are believed to have contracted the virus in order to prevent further spread.

We have an obligation to you, and you have an obligation to yourselves, your family and other citizens. But if we all — as government and citizens – across the Kurdistan Region, help each other and abide by the public advice, we can stop the further spread of this pandemic. The sooner we can do that, the quicker we can restore order.

This pandemic, which has spread to 100 countries globally and has now reached Kurdistan, has already taken a toll. There have been 28 confirmed cases and one citizen has died. I send my condolences to the family and wish the others a speedy recovery.

Unfortunately, I must say that the negative consequences of this pandemic will become apparent in the days to come. But having said that, we can each play a role to significantly reduce the spread of the virus. I urge you to abide by the Ministry of Health advice; continue to wash your hands regularly and reduce your physical contact with others and stay at home as much as possible. If you notice symptoms, call the dedicated emergency helpline on 122 for assistance.

My fellow citizens

Both the immediate threat to our people’s health, as well as the subsequent risks to our economy, are very real. But we have faced far worse threats in the past, overcoming tyranny and terror, and we have succeeded. I am certain this time too, by helping each other and abiding by the public health advice, we can together get through this difficult chapter.

I also take this opportunity to call on government bodies and property owners to take into consideration this situation and the impact on rent, so we can share the burden together and alleviate the impact.

The Kurdistan Regional government will continue to work on our response to the coronavirus and its impacts on our economy. We will not hesitate to take decisions necessary for the well-being of the Kurdistani peoples, and I urge all the political parties to rally behind us.

The government bodies will keep you updated at every step in the coming days.

Thank you for your support and steadfastness. I wish you all continued safety.

Towards a stronger and prosperous Kurdistan.

https://vimeo.com/397686289

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Prime Minister Barzani chairs cabinet meeting to discuss the economic implications for Kurdistan of the coronavirus outbreak

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (GOV.KRD) – Prime Minister Masrour Barzani today chaired a meeting, attended by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani and cabinet ministers, to discuss the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the Kurdistan Region.

Acknowledging the ongoing efforts of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s high-level committee to combat coronavirus in the region, Prime Minister Barzani underlined the need to consider citizens’ interests when ordering precautionary measures.

The Prime Minister called on all peoples and parties in the Kurdistan Region to abide by the instructions issued by the government to keep the public safe. He added that the implications of coronavirus are not limited to public health, but also affect the economy of the Kurdistan Region, Iraq and the wider world.

Prime Minister Barzani stressed that his government remains committed to modernising and diversifying the Kurdistan Region’s economy. The cabinet agreed to reduce unnecessary government expenditures as part of the ongoing reform process.

The cabinet also acknowledged that implementation of the KRG’s modernisation agenda is dependent on the political, economic and security situation in Iraq and the region. They agreed to continue the ongoing constructive dialogue with the federal government of Iraq, particularly to minimise any economic effects caused by the recent fall in oil prices.