Kurdistan Region Council of Ministers discusses financial crisis

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (cabinet.gov.krd). The current financial crisis was discussed at a meeting of the Kurdistan Region Council of Ministers yesterday, chaired by Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, with Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani.

Prime Minister Barzani said that meeting extraordinary expenses, caused by the war against the Islamic State terrorist organization, that the Kurdistan Region fights also on behalf of the world, and accommodating close to two million refugees and displaced persons, has been greatly worsened by the dramatic decrease in the price of oil that is the primary source of public revenue.

He remarked that since February 2014 the Federal Government of Iraq has failed to provide, as agreed, the Region’s full share of national revenue, a move which marked the beginning of a serious financial crisis, culminated in the recent sharp fall in the oil price, which adversely affects many oil producing countries.

As the Kurdistan Region is not a sovereign entity, Prime Minister Barzani explained that the KRG is not in a position to print currency nor establish credit in the international financial market.

He said, “We are, so far, alone in meeting financial requirements in fighting the world’s most brutal terrorist organization.” He made clear that, “In order to overcome this situation we need everyone’s cooperation. We have to be frank with ourselves and take austerity measures and bold decisions, towards adopting a series of reforms to overcome the current crisis.”

Deputy Prime Minister Talabani briefed the Council about the steps already taken and needed yet to be taken by the KRG to effectively manage the crisis.

He remarked that the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and relevant authorities frequently meet to monitor the situation, follow up on measures being taken, and discuss additional measures.

He reiterated the Kurdistan Region is alone in this financial crisis and emphasized that along with austerity measures a series of reforms needs to be effectively implemented.  He stated that in the interest of transparency the KRG will publish relevant data and information about its financial obligations and resources available and needed to meet them.

The Governors of Erbil, Duhok, and Halabja also attended the meeting.  The Governor of Slemani was unable to attend.

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