KRG Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani. File photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The central government should also do an audit of its civil servant employees, said Deputy KRG Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, who has spearheaded the Kurdistan Region’s biometric system that is now being used in Baghdad’s review of the KRG’s payroll.
“Auditing the list of employees and salary-takers of the Kurdistan Region by the central government is a normal thing. The biometric record of the regional government facilitates it,” Talabani stated in a Facebook post on Monday.
“We also hope that the same procedure is carried out in every department and bureau of the central government,” he wrote.
He expressed hope that political interests and goals will not obstruct paying the salaries of the KRG’s employees.
The Iraqi government has formed ten sub-committees to look into the payroll records of the KRG. The first ministries being audited are the health and education ministries. Iraqi Prime Minister has said that the essential-service sectors should be paid first.
Last week, a financial watchdog from Baghdad arrived in Erbil to audit the KRG’s biometric records, a program introduced in 2016 as a part of the KRG’s reforms.
Abadi has on more than one occasion promised to pay the salaries of Kurdistan Region civil servants, but has insisted an audit must first be done because of concerns about the KRG’s bloated payroll. He is worried about corruption and wants to ensure payments actually go to deserving employees.
Some Kurdish citizens have expressed doubt about Abadi’s sincerity. Teachers at a recent protest in Sulaimani said Abadi’s promises are false, just like the KRG’s.
The Central Bank of Iraq sent $210 million to its branch in Erbil on January 29, but the KRG does not have authority over the funds and does not know what it is for.