Iraq’s Central Bank has started a new account for the Kurdish Regional Government to pull its government wages from; a total of 450 billion dinars was deposited in to it according to documents recently made public by Iraqi government officials. According to a letter sent to the Ministry of Finance for Iraq, the account was specifically dedicated “for the Kurdistan Region.” The account was opened on December 30th and on January 3rd, the funds were transferred into the account by the Ministry of Finance.
Based on the letter, under the condition pertaining to account access, the Prime Minister will be the only person able to authorize transfers pertaining to the account. A comment from a ministry employee was that the money was strictly for, “public employee salaries in the Kurdistan Region.” Simultaneously, audit teams will be screening employee lists of the Kurdish Regional Government’s Ministries of Education and Health; both teams were formed and put into action near the end of December. The audit is ongoing but a joint recommendation has been made by the Iraqi central government to pay out one month of salaries while the process is executed. Minister of Health for the KRG, Rekawt Hama Rashid, stated that, “Currently there is a committee from the ministries of health and education in Baghdad. There is a lot of progress and we expect the salaries of the ministry of health will be sent.” Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said he would only distribute KRG salaries after the payroll lists had been audited.
The KRG has always had major issues with obtaining and distributing wages among its various government based entities. Often the Peshmerga are the first to suffer if a payroll is missed and many government employees are owed back-pay from previously missed salaries. Their is clearly a disconnect somewhere in the process but whether or not the fault lies with the Iraqi central government or the KRG still remains to be seen.