Shafaq News / The State of Law coalition reaffirmed on Thursday that the current data indicates the passage of the budget law in a session scheduled for later this evening, noting the lack of "full acceptance" by parliamentary blocs.
Member of the Coalition and Parliamentary Legal Committee, Aref Al-Hamami, told Shafaq News Agency, "All indicators point to the budget's passage today, as the Finance Committee met with the Prime Minister, and there was a meeting last night with the Council President and regional powers, resulting in an agreement to pass the budget."
Regarding the reason for postponing the session to 8 p.m. instead of 1 p.m., Al-Hamami clarified, "We do not wish to pass the budget separately from the government in order to avoid challenges to certain amended provisions."
He added that "the law allowed transfers to the House of Representatives, but the government has a program for that, so it cannot make additions or deletions that would affect it. Therefore, coordination between the House of Representatives (the Finance Committee) and the executive government is necessary for the stability of the budget law and to prevent problems after its approval."
Al-Hamami affirmed that "communication is ongoing between the government and the House of Representatives through the Presidency Council and the specialized Finance Committee. In the event of coordination with the government, no provision that has been coordinated with the government will be challenged," stating that "ultimately, communication leads to consensus and understanding on the provisions to be passed."
Regarding the position of the Kurdistan Democratic Party on the budget, he explained that "no party is 100% satisfied with the budget, as each side requests more. We do not wish to harm anyone, as it is their rights."
The Iraqi Parliament is preparing to vote on the budget, which has been delayed for six months due to political disagreements over its articles. Meanwhile, political factions express optimism about resolving the issues and proceeding with its approval, as a result of continuous meetings leading up to today.
The Iraqi Parliament had set Thursday, 8th June, as the date for holding a session to vote on the draft of the Federal General Budget Law for the fiscal years (2023, 2024, 2025).
The Parliamentary Finance Committee recently voted on several amendments related to the Kurdistan Region, including a modification to Article (13-2-a), which previously stipulated the Kurdistan Region's commitment to export no less than 400,000 barrels of oil per day. After the amendment, the paragraph now states that the region should deliver the produced crude oil from its fields at a rate of no less than 400,000 barrels per day to the Ministry of Oil for exportation through the government-owned "SOMO" company, or for domestic use in Iraqi refineries.
It is worth noting that the Presidency and Government of the Kurdistan Region recently objected to amendments made to the provisions concerning the region in the proposed fiscal budget, which the Iraqi Parliament seeks to approve, describing them as contrary to laws, the constitution, and agreements concluded between Erbil and Baghdad, which led to the formation of the current federal government headed by Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani.
Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani expressed "deep concern" over the changes that affected the provisions related to the constitutional rights of the Kurdistan Region in the Iraqi General Budget Law, stating that he completely rejects them.
Prior to that, the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region, Masrour Barzani, stated that "a group in the Parliamentary Finance Committee has introduced amendments to the federal budget, thereby violating a previous agreement we reached with Prime Minister Mohammed Shia' Al-Sudani and his government," emphasizing that "the agreement, which is the cornerstone of cooperation between Erbil and Baghdad, should be respected by all."
The Parliamentary Finance Committee recently voted to oblige the Kurdistan Region to pay 10% monthly from deducted salaries of its employees, which was included in the budget amendments currently being discussed.
Furthermore, Mustafa Sinnad, a member of the Parliamentary Finance Committee, confirmed the committee's vote on amendments related to the region in the budget law, concerning the delivery of oil, while noting the withdrawal of Democratic Party bloc deputies from the meeting.
The Iraqi Cabinet approved the largest fiscal budget in the country's history on March 13th, with a total of over 197 trillion and 828 billion Iraqi dinars (approximately $152.2 billion), and a total deficit of 63 trillion Iraqi dinars. This was made possible by taking advantage of the global rise in oil prices, which constitute over 95% of the country's financial revenues. However, the budget has not been officially ratified yet due to ongoing disagreements, despite objections from financial and legal experts regarding certain budget provisions.