Challenges mount as Kurdistan faces salaries localization deadline

Challenges mount as Kurdistan faces salaries localization deadline

Shafaq News/ The Federal Court, Iraq's highest judicial authority, mandated to localize the salaries for Kurdistan's employees in government banks starting this February.

In this regard, Iraqi Finance Minister Taif Sami affirmed that February salaries would be disbursed after the Kurdish government submitted employee lists. However, she stipulated opening bank accounts for all employees in Central Bank-approved banks within a month to ensure regular salary receipt.

Economists are casting doubt on the feasibility of the Kurdistan Region complying with the Federal Court's decision within one month; meanwhile, Kurdish academics are urging not to involve citizens in anticipated conflicts arising from the controversial court decisions.

Economic expert Karwan Hama Salih dismissed the one-month deadline as insufficient, deeming it impossible for such a massive undertaking.

Salih explained to Shafaq News Agency, "Opening bank accounts for all employees, even in developed countries, typically requires six months to a year."

"The Iraqi government is set to endorse three banks for the localization of employee salaries, Rafidain Bank, Al-Rasheed Bank, and Trade Bank of Iraq," suggesting that authorizing departments to receive salaries directly from approved banks until the completion of the account-opening process.

On the other hand, Engineer Arslan Muhammad called for excluding citizens and employees from "anticipated conflicts arising between the regional and federal finance ministries."

"It is very important to embrace constitutional frameworks to address issues, irrespective of citizens' livelihoods, and ensure equal rights for the Region's residents comparable to those in the central and southern regions in Iraq, since everyone holds Iraqi citizenship, discrimination based on any criteria in terms of rights and responsibilities is not permissible," Muhammad said.

Member of the Finance Committee in the Iraqi Parliament, Nermin Maarouf, cited Minister Taif Sami's statement that the localization of salaries would occur in branches of Rafidain and Al-Rasheed banks outside the Kurdistan Region before transferring them to other Central Bank-approved branches within the Region.

Maarouf explained to Shafaq News that the federal government, following the court decision, would allocate 913 billion dinars for salaries and disbursements after auditing lists provided by the Kurdistan Regional Government.

MP Marouf cited Sami, stating, "Completing these procedures is not impossible as the Kurdistan Region has already established a biometric system, which can be utilized. However, I cannot determine whether it will be finalized during this month or not."

The Court's new decision has sparked anger and criticism among Kurdish politicians, with some claiming that the decision is unconstitutional and politically motivated and that it undermines the autonomy and finances of the Kurdistan Region.

However, some observers and experts argue that the decisions are correct and consistent with the law and the constitution and that they will ensure the rights of everyone and end the suffering of the Region's employees who have delayed receiving their salaries for months.

In an interview with Monte Carlo International, the head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), leader Masoud Barzani expressed regret for the recent Court's decisions, considering them biased against the Region.

"Unfortunately, all the decisions of the Federal Court are heavily biased against the Region…Its decisions are unjust and unfair, distinctly against the Region.

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