Shafaq news/ The decision that’s made by Baghdad’s government to suspend Kurdistan’s employees’ salaries raises many questions about it’s content , timing and inconsistencies with the constitution as well as the requirement of a rational cooperation with Erbil in the light of political, economic and health challenges.
On the political side, the contradiction lies in the fact that the government of Adel Abdul Mahdi is officially resigned, and it is in a caretaker state since the beginning of last March, Abdul Mahdi himself affirmed officially to voluntarily give up his role as prime minister suggesting that one of his deputies or ministers be assigned for managing cabinet sessions.
In the light of Abdul Mahdi’s politically complicated scene in Baghdad and the political paralysis and negligence of the Prime Minister-designate Mustafa Al-Kadhemi who has just signed the “ministerial curriculum,” and has not won the confidence of Parliament until now, the question becomes naturally about the legality of financial blackmail at this particularly sensitive moment.
In this context, the Iraqi Minister of Construction and Housing Bangin Rekani said, "Adel Abdul Mahdi is not with cutting the salaries of Kurdistan’s employees, and he is now under great pressure."
But perhaps more importantly, the question of whether political wisdom — and the extrapolation of the ethics of participatory political action — requires igniting a crisis with Kurdistan by harming the lives of millions of people, by creating a crisis of "salary politicization."?
Another aspect of contradiction is cutting salaries in itself is an additional incomprehensible addition to a large package of political complications caused by the federal government , at least since 2014, on more than one file, including oil, budget, Kirkuk and terrorism.
Economically, Cutting salaries is not a strange initiative by the federal government. For Baghdad realizes that Kurdistan has been going through an economic crisis since 2014 just like other regional countries After the oil prices has fallen by about 50% and then collapsed again, The economic devastation caused by İSİS wars, The presence of more than a million displaced people within Kurdistan region and the emergence of coronavirus with it’s burdens and challenges.
İt’s known that Kurdistan depends on two sources of funding, The oil exports (300 thousand barrels per day managed jointly by international companies and 170 thousand barrels managed by Kurdistan itself) and the financial dues agreed constitutionally with Baghdad . So it’s self-evident to say that cutting salaries while the oil prices are falling and with the economic burdens, Is like a stab in the heart of citizens' lives.
The meaning of this stab will be clearly understood after Shafaq news shared documents that confirm that the federal government did not send Kurdistan’s financial dues from February 2014 to 2019 which sharply restricted the lives of hundreds of thousands of citizens. As well as force the provincial government to run its affairs with harsh austerity, cut the salaries of public sectors’ employees, Borrow and try to attract investment on more difficult terms.
Kurdistan’s regional government (KRG) did well by sending a letter on April 28th 2020, To the general secretariat of the council of ministers of the federal government. Reminding it that “the constitution guaranteed funding the regions and governorates that are not organized in a region in the federal authorities according to the principles of equality, Equal opportunities and justice . Which should be adopted equally between the citizens of Kurdistan and other Iraqi governorates , Including salaries and financial benefits for employees. So to stop funding Kurdistan is a violation of what has been mentioned. Especially since funding salaries to the federal 15 governorates has been running smoothly without any conditioned suspension. Confirming that the employees of Kurdistan do not differ in any way from the employees of the rest of Iraq in publicly serving the entity of Iraq.
This message affirms a fundamental point of Kurdistan defending employee rights, as it exposes the inequality that the federal government pursued in its dealings with citizens who are equal before the Iraqi constitution, the massage can be fully dependent on in order to develop a valid legal and political issue to protect employee funds.
According to documents published by Shafaq news, the most strange in suspending salaries decision is that the federal government did not adhere to the text of the Financial Management Law that refers to the right of Kurdistan, like other provinces, a ratio of 1/12 per month of the actual expenses for current expenditures for the year 2019, however, these dues were not transferred to the region’s account in the first three months of the year 2020, except for compensation for the region’s employees, which makes the decision of the federal government a malicious act that is not logically justifiable. And if the federal government is legally obligated (according to Article 10 / Second / C) to pay the financial dues of Kurdistan, it also allows Baghdad’s government to deduct the amount of the damage from the region's share if it does not deliver the agreed share of oil. So it’s only natural to ask, why did Baghdad not deduct that money that is owed to it as it has been doing until the end of 2019, while fulfilling at the same time it’s other financial commitment to the citizens of Kurdistan?
There is no need to say that “politicizing salaries” will leave deep scars in the body of the relationship between Baghdad and Erbil, which is hardly trying to rise from the effects of decades of pain and suspicion after the 2005 constitution. The Federal Government's attempts to evade it’s constitutional obligations will ruin the trust between the two governments however little it is.
The Iraqi Parliament’s deputies’ statements are no longer convincing in defending Baghdad’s decision to suspend Kurdistan’s salaries justifying it by the financial difficulties caused by the fall of oil prices, the damaged state budget and The economic paralysis created by the Coronavirus. This economic crisis afflicts everyone in the world not only Baghdad’s government. Therefore the federal government must not consider itself exempt from its agreed obligations, and it cannot lay the consequences on Kurdistan.
Basheer Al-Haddad ,the Deputy Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, asked the federal government to release the financial dues of Kurdistan as well as to not endanger the citizens’ livelihoods which will harm the national cohesion, also to adhere to the application of Article (10 / second / c) which was referred to previously.
Al-Haddad adds that this decision was not economic, for behind it may lay some political motives to pressure (KRG) with other files believed to be linked to the political struggle in Baghdad over the birth of the government of Mustafa Al-Kadhemi and the death of Adel Abdul Mahdi’s government, also hints of an Iranian role linked to the confrontation of the American military influence in Iraq in general.
However, (KRG)’s negotiating delegation who recently visited Baghdad, spoke openly of political pressure to fail the oil agreement between Baghdad and Erbil’s government. So perhaps "politicizing salaries" appears to be an attempt to achieve those goals.
The President of Kurdistan, Nechirvan Barzani, met with the representative of the United Nations Secretary General in Iraq, jeanine Plasschaert to discuss the "unconstitutional and illegal procedure" that’s initiated by the federal government. A delegation of the Kurdistan government headed by Qubad Talabani, met with Parliament Speaker Muhammad al-Halbousi, the Sadrist movement and the Wisdom Block. Also met with the US ambassador in Iraq Matthew Toller, and with Iraqi Oil Minister Thamer Al-Ghadhban. The Iraqi President Barham Salih, met with the Chairman of the Finance Committee in the House of Representatives, Haitham Al-Jubouri, stressing that "the settlement of financial claims is a required benefit according to the constitution and the budget law. Though it should not prevent committing to pay Kurdistan’s employees’ salaries for it’s a constitutional right . “
It’s a wonder and a questioning matter that revolves around the issue of cutting salaries, that the federal governments that made Iraq for many years, and still is, among the most corrupt countries in the world according to the United Nations itself , regarding tens of billions of dollars, and did not So far make any significant effort to restore the stolen money, which now invoke the economic crisis or an unresolved dispute over oil , to cut the salaries of employees in Kurdistan. which raises all of the above political and moral questions.