Budget disputes between Baghdad and Erbil have plagued the past three Iraqi governments. File photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Some politicians from the Kurdistan Region want $10 billion dollars from the Iraqi national budget for 2019, floating the idea of no longer arguing for their 17 percent share.
"All the Kurdish blocs have given up on the demand about what percentage of their share should be in the budget, instead they are asking for $10 billion for the 2019 budget share," said Jamal Kochar, a Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) MP in the Iraqi parliament and member of the finance committee.
The suggested Iraqi draft budget for Fiscal Year 2019 puts the Kurdistan Region's share at 12.67 percent, amounting to around 8 trillion Iraqi dinars (about $6.72 billion) — the same as 2018.
The $10 billion figure amounts to roughly a 15-percent share.
"What they have set for us is less than $8 billion," he added.
Officials from the Kurdistan Regional Government are likely to be involved in budget negotiation talks.
"If they wish, they have to with full force, on a high level come to Baghdad and start talks and apply pressure," Kochar said while adding that the KRG will have to in a "transparent way" and explain its balance sheet.
In the draft, expenses were estimated at 132 trillion dinars (about $110 billion), the incomes at 105 trillion (about $87.8 billion), meaning the deficit will stand at 27 trillion (about $22.6 billion). The price of a barrel of oil is fixed at $56 dollars in the draft.
At the end of October, the Iraqi government sent the 2019 budget draft to parliament and the parliament will debate it on Monday.
Kurdistani politicians are slamming the proposed bill because it fails to address previous shortcomings.
A delegation from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Ministry of Finance arrived in the federal capital on Sunday to join talks addressing the shortcomings.
The Kurdistan Regional Government’s 17-percent share was reduced to 12.67 by previous PM Haider al-Abadi who repeatedly claimed that the reduced share reflects the population of the Kurdistan Region. Iraq has not held a census since 1987.
Iraq's budget for 2018 is about 104 trillion dinars (about $88 billion). The Iraqi budget operates with a deficit of 12.5 trillion dinars (about $10.6 billion). The budget is based on a projected oil price of $46 per barrel and a daily export rate of 3.8 million barrels.