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First Batch of Money From Baghdad to Erbil

First Batch of Money From Baghdad to Erbil

Tuesday, 30 January, 2018 - 07:00
A burned poster of Massoud Barzani, the president of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, is displayed in front of the now abandoned building belonging to the Kurdish security forces in Kirkuk. Khalid Mohammed / AP

Baghdad sent on Monday the first batch of money to Erbil, to help the Kurdistan Region Government pay the salaries of its employees, after the Iraqi government had refused to pay the KRG share in the budget for more than three years.

Rudaw news website quoted on Monday a source from the Kurdish finance ministry as saying that the ministry has received the money from Baghdad but had yet to receive orders from the Iraqi government on whether to spend it.

A Kurdish MP told Rudaw that the Iraqi government has decided to send the Kurdistan Region 250 billion Iraqi dinars (about $210 million) for the salaries of Kurdish state employees, particularly the health and education ministries, two ministries whose payroll lists are being audited.

It reported that the Central Bank of Iraq has opened a bank account for the Kurdistan Region and deposited 450 billion dinars (around $380 million) into it.

Also on Monday, the Iraqi parliament voted to lift sanctions imposed on banks in the Kurdistan region over an independence referendum.

Iraqi parliamentarian Aziz Qathem of the National Wisdom Movement (Al-Hikmah) bloc said on Monday that Parliament passed a decision to remove sanctions related to enforcing federal controls on the Kurdish banking industry after they had “fulfilled their purpose.”

The sanctions included restrictions on dollar and foreign currency transfers and sales to four Kurdish-owned banks by the central bank in Baghdad, according to Reuters.

Also a ban is still in place on direct international flights to and from the Kurdistan region, which was imposed in retaliation for the Sept. 25 Kurdish independence referendum.

The central government in Baghdad said the vote which delivered an overwhelming yes for independence is illegal, the news agency reported.

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