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Kurdistan Economy

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Re: Kurdistan Economy

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Mar 16, 2024 10:52 am

Iraq paid less than half owed

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said on Friday that Baghdad has sent less than half of its share of the 2023 federal budget

“‎The Kurdistan Regional Government has published detailed payments sent by the Federal Government to the Kurdistan Region in 2023 and according to official information, 9 trillion and 378 billion dinars of the Kurdistan Region's financial rights and entitlements have not been sent,” read a statement from the KRG.

Erbil was due a total of about 16.5 trillion dinars (about $13 million), according to the KRG, adding that the federal government has sent around 997 billion dinars from the budget and 3.7 trillion dinars as a loan.

The cash-strapped KRG has repeatedly accused Baghdad of not making regular payments of its share of federal funds. Last June, Iraq passed a three-year budget of which the Kurdistan Region's share is 12.6 percent. Baghdad has claimed it has fully implemented its financial obligations to the KRG, including through loans to assist the Region in paying the salaries of its civil servants.

The KRG has disputed Iraq’s claims. According to the statement, the KRG’s natural resources ministry handed over 12 million barrels of oil to the federal government between June 25 and November 30 of 2023, but Baghdad has not sent any funds to cover production or transportation costs, as well as the financial entitlements of the international oil companies (IOCs) operating in the Kurdistan Region.

The row with Baghdad over federal funds has contributed to the KRG’s dire financial situation, in addition to the halt of the Region’s oil exports through Turkey for the past year.

    Erbil said not being able to export its oil has “severely damaged” the federal treasury and the IOCs operating in the Kurdistan Region, putting the loss at an estimated $10 billion
Iraq’s top court recently ruled that the Kurdistan Region’s oil and non-oil revenues must be handed over to Baghdad and all salaries are to be paid directly by the federal government, rather than by Erbil.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/150320241

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Re: Kurdistan Economy

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Mar 24, 2024 3:21 pm

Kurdistan financial entitlements

ERBIL (Kurdistan24) – Atwan al-Atwani, the head of the Iraqi parliament's finance committee, on Sunday told Kurdistan24 that Kurdistan Region financial entitlements should be remitted

“We are in talks with the Ministry of Finance to find an easier way to send the salaries of the Kurdistan Region,” al-Atwani said.

He emphasized the importance of preserving the rights of civil servants in the Kurdistan Region. Additionally, he assured that all necessary measures will be taken to guarantee that civil servants receive their financial benefits.

Meanwhile, the official noted that money transfers to the Kurdistan Region will continue until the digitalization of salary processing is finalized.

“The remittance process will be conducted based on the list and data provided by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to the Iraqi Ministry of Finance,” he added.

KRG Minister of Finance and Economy Awat Janab Noori, on Saturday said that "we are about to reach an agreement with the Iraqi government on the salaries of the security forces."

https://www.kurdistan24.net/en/story/34 ... -committee
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Re: Kurdistan Economy

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Mar 28, 2024 12:35 am

Measures to Alleviate Economic Burden

In efforts to address the pressing economic challenges facing the people of the Kurdistan Region, Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Wednesday announced a series of decisive measures aimed at providing immediate relief and support

Prime Minister Barzani affirmed his commitment to prioritize the welfare of the Kurdish people, emphasizing his government's proactive stance in ensuring timely salary distributions and alleviating financial burdens.

"We have instructed the Ministry of Finance and Economy to start distributing the salaries of February and prepare to provide the salaries of March and the coming months," the prime minister stated, underscoring the government's steadfast commitment to fulfilling its obligations to the citizens.

Expressing a firm stance towards the federal government in Baghdad, Prime Minister Barzani held them accountable under both constitutional and moral responsibilities to honor their commitment in providing salaries to the Region.

Highlighting the government's concerted efforts, PM Barzani outlined additional measures aimed at easing the economic strain on citizens. These include initiatives such as allocating land to employees through the Ministry of Municipalities and Tourism, along with discounts on accumulated electricity bills, traffic fines, meat import fees, and parallel tuition fees in public educational institutions.

"We have done what is on our shoulders and our duty and we will continue our efforts to be more at the service of the people of Kurdistan," the Kurdish leader affirmed, expressing gratitude to the people for their resilience and patience amidst challenging times.

Erbil and Baghdad have been in dispute over the allocation of salaries for public servants in the Kurdistan Region, as the federal government has yet to provide the full amount of the Region’s share from the budget.

https://www.basnews.com/en/babat/843805
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Re: Kurdistan Economy

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Mar 29, 2024 4:16 am

Restaurants, cafes to be opened in citadel

Changes will be made to Erbil Citadel's interior design after the local government dedicated a budget for its further renovation, announced the governor’s office late Friday, adding that restaurants and cafes will be opened to attract tourists

The governor’s office said in a statement that $135,000 has been allocated to “renovate” the citadel which has been occupied for about 6,000 years.

“Work is underway to renovate the main street of the citadel,” read the statement, adding that electricity has been provided to the historic tell through underground electric transmission lines.

“In the near future, restaurants and cafes will be opened so that it becomes an important tourist spot in the heart of Erbil city,” added the office.

The citadel has been added to UNESCO's World Heritage List since 2014.

“Erbil Citadel is a rare surviving example of a formerly fortified settlement which has grown up on the top of an imposing ovoid-shaped tell,” says UNESCO on its website.

People’s access to most parts of the citadel has been limited.

Renovation efforts, funded by UNESCO, began in 2009.

“Most of them [tourists] visiting here take a tour and leave due to lack of restaurants and cafes,” Nihad Latif, Head of the Erbil Citadel Restoration Commission, said in 2019.

Millions of tourists, mostly from Iraqi central and southern provinces, visit the Kurdistan Region annually, with most of them choosing Erbil province.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/15072023
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Re: Kurdistan Economy

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Mar 29, 2024 11:29 am

Reduction in fees

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) - The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has announced a 20% reduction in parallel tuition fees at public colleges and institutes, a move welcomed by students across the region

Approximately 25% of Salahaddin University's students, totaling more than 3,000 students, are enrolled in parallel programs.

Teachers and students alike express satisfaction with Prime Minister Masrour Barzani's decision, noting its significance during a period of economic uncertainty for themselves and their families.

Bushra Shamal, a student at Salahaddin University's College of Education, commended the discount on parallel tuition fees, stating that “it will enable students to focus more on their studies without worrying excessively about financial constraints.”

The total reduction in fees for parallel, diploma, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs for the current academic year amounts to 85% of the total annual tuition fee.

University faculty members view the discount as a crucial measure to alleviate the financial burdens associated with pursuing higher education.

Azad Aziz, head of the Kurdish language department at Salahaddin University's College of Education, emphasized the role of the discount in easing economic pressures on students and their families, particularly amid financial challenges stemming from federal government policies affecting the Kurdistan Region.

The KRG's ninth cabinet has consistently implemented tuition fee reductions in universities and colleges to facilitate access to education.

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani announced on Wednesday March 27, 2024, that the KRG has initiated the distribution of February salaries, alongside several other measures aimed at addressing economic instability in the region.

Additionally, the Ministry of Municipalities and Tourism will commence the allocation and distribution of land to all eligible government employees.

Prime Minister Barzani outlined various decisions made during the Council of Ministers meeting, including:

    - A 20% discount on accumulated electricity bills.

    - A 20% discount on accumulated traffic fines.

    - A 50% discount on meat import fees.

    - A 20% discount on parallel study fees at public universities and colleges.

    - Waiver of penalties for late social security contributions.

    - A 20% discount on accumulated water charges.

    - A 20% discount on municipal fees, particularly for tenants under the Ministry of Municipalities.

    - Exemption from late tax penalties for professionals, traders, and low-income individuals.
https://www.kurdistan24.net/en/story/34431-KRG-Prime-Minister%E2%80%99s-decision-sparks-positive-reaction-among-university-students
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Re: Kurdistan Economy

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Mar 29, 2024 12:29 pm

UNHCR to drop assistance

The United Nations’ Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Representative in Iraq recently told Rudaw that the decision to decrease assistance to refugees and Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in the Kurdistan Region will hold for the “foreseeable future,” as international donors are concerned with “more pressing, urgent humanitarian needs.”

UNHCR Representative in Iraq Jean-Nicolas Beuze told Rudaw’s Dilbxwin Dara in an interview aired on Wednesday, that the reason behind the choice taken by the UNHCR as well as the UN’s other humanitarian partners and local NGOs to decrease their assistance to refugees from Syria as well as other countries, and IDPs in the Kurdistan Region was that “most of these displaced populations are receiving already services through the public institutions.”

Beuze noted that as a result of the efficient public services delivery to refugees exhibited by the Kurdish authorities, which he commended, “we [UNHCR] are less needed and this is very much a good thing, at a time that as we all know there are crises all over the world.”

He also added that said measure would “last for the foreseeable future because we [UNHCR] really believe that Iraq is in a position to deliver those services, quality services, accessible services, to the displaced population, and we see it everyday.” Nevertheless, he highlighted that while the funding might be decreasing, the UNHCR has established systems that will ensure refugees and IDPs do not suffer from their scaled back presence.

Despite noting the intent of Kurdish authorities to continue providing said services to displaced populations in the Kurdistan Region, Beuze stressed that “we [UNHCR] count on our donors to continue helping us but we do understand and agree that it’s time for them the donors to go and look at more pressing, urgent humanitarian needs than Iraq,” highlighting that the world’s attention is now more concentrated on the crises in Gaza and Ukraine than that in Syria, where most refugees in the Kurdistan Region come from.

The UNHCR Representative in Iraq specified that as the UN refugee agency enters the planning process for the period between 2025 and 2029, the organization’s goal in the Kurdistan Region is to reinforce the capacity of local authorities and public sector providers to “deliver services for the refugees, eventually also for the Iraqi internally displaced but also for the local population so that we can improve the quality of services… for everyone on an equal footing.” He added that the UNHCR and the international community are also committed to giving back to the local population of the Region.

On the issue of the protracted displacement of Yazidis, Beuze noted that it is imperative to find a solution outside of camps. “One of the solutions, for those who want to, will be to return to Sinjar [Shingal] but some won’t be able or will not be willing to return to Sinjar so we have to also give them some solutions such as local integration, remaining outside the camp or turning the camp into formal settlements for them to have a decent life,” he said.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/interview/07032024

Most Yazidis are far too frightened to return home, also they have nothing to return home to and need compensation for damages caused by the 2014 terrorist attack and the obliteration of their homes and lands by the coalition as they sort to remove ISIS with a massive and extremely destructive bombing campaign

Yazidis need the reconstruction of Sinjar and its environs, provision of essential services, acknowledgment of the Yezidi genocide, and expulsion of militias from Sinjar
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Re: Kurdistan Economy

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Mar 30, 2024 11:30 pm

BCF Extends Aid to People in Zakho

The Kurdish Barzani Charity Foundation (BCF) has distributed humanitarian assistance to people affected by recent flash floods in the town of Zakho

The relief aid was distributed to 300 families who were affected by the floods recently, with each family receiving blankets, mattresses, clothes and food items, the charity group said in a statement on Friday.

Based in the Kurdistan Region, the BCF plays a crucial role as a charity organization with significant outreach both locally and regionally. Their mission involves offering financial assistance to underprivileged families and delivering humanitarian support and relief to individuals affected by natural disasters and conflicts.

The charity group also provides IDPs with essential supplies, including tents, blankets, medical provisions, educational resources, food parcels, financial aid, and other necessities.

Last week, the Barzani Charity Foundation announced distribution of heating oil to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Erbil province, and also donated medicines to Erbil health directorate.

https://www.basnews.com/en/babat/844053
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Re: Kurdistan Economy

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Mar 30, 2024 11:32 pm

KRG Invests Billions in Education

In a significant boost to education infrastructure, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has announced the completion of 13 newly constructed schools and the renovation of 70 others in Erbil's Bardarash district

The ambitious initiative, undertaken at a cost of 8 billion dinars for new constructions and 2.5 billion dinars for renovations, signals a substantial commitment to enhancing educational facilities across the Region

The newly built schools stand as pillars of progress, offering modern amenities and conducive learning environments for students. Meanwhile, the renovation efforts have revitalized existing educational institutions, ensuring that they continue to serve the community with upgraded facilities.

This strategic investment underscores the KRG's unwavering dedication to advancing education and empowering future generations. By prioritizing infrastructure development in the education sector, the government aims to foster academic excellence and provide students with the resources they need to succeed.

Local authorities and residents alike have welcomed the news, expressing gratitude for the government's proactive approach to improving educational opportunities in Bardarash district. The completion of these projects marks a significant milestone in the Region's journey towards building a stronger foundation for learning and development.

https://www.basnews.com/en/babat/844063
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Re: Kurdistan Economy

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Apr 09, 2024 7:29 pm

Kurdistan Tourism Surges

Spokesperson of the Kurdistan Region Tourism Board Ibrahim Abdulmajid announced a significant surge in tourism, with more than 1.5 million visitors flocking to the Region in the past three months

Highlighting Kurdistan’s diverse attractions, Abdulmajid elaborated on the increasing popularity of its tourist destinations, underscoring the Region’s appeal across all seasons and noting the rising trend of winter tourism.

He mentioned that besides its renowned spring and summer resorts nestled in the Region's mountains, Kurdistan also boasts captivating winter scenery, attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists annually from various parts of Iraq.

Earlier, Amal Jalal, head of the Kurdistan Region Tourism Board, unveiled ambitious plans for the tourism sector. Jalal disclosed an eight-year long-term plan along with a medium-term strategy, envisioning the welcoming of 20 million tourists annually.

These plans aim to further enhance Kurdistan's position as a premier tourist destination as part of the current cabinet’s agenda of diversifying the economy.

https://www.basnews.com/en/babat/845137
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Re: Kurdistan Economy

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Apr 15, 2024 6:55 pm

Nature attracts tourists to Kurdistan

SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region - Over 30,000 tourists from central and southern Iraq spent their Eid holidays in the Kurdistan Region to enjoy the spring weather and a change in scenery

Issam Mohammed, an Iraqi tourist, expressed his affection for the tourist areas in the Kurdistan Region that he is visiting for the “first time.”

“We came with the family to the Kurdistan Region, which is a beautiful area that we had not visited before and this is our first time. We visited other tourist areas in Turkey and elsewhere, but we did not expect this beauty in the Kurdistan Region,” Mohammed told Rudaw’s Ziyad Ismael on Friday.

Mahdi Saleh, another tourist from Baghdad told Rudaw that the “atmosphere in the Kurdistan Region is beautiful, more beautiful than Baghdad having waterfalls, and mountains.”

Tourists want to visit the region because of its beautiful mountains, plains, and valleys. In Baghdad, there are 1,200 tourism companies, and they see holidays and summer vacations as the best time for their business.

The head of the tourism and hotel service association, Ammar Yassir, spoke to Rudaw that “Tourism in the Kurdistan Region is promising and active, and a very good tourist market. This indicates the correct tourism work in the region and the development of a correct strategic plan in which the tourism authority operates.”

Yassir added, “On the other hand, there is tourism cooperation between the tourism authority in the Region and the tourism authority in Baghdad."

The Kurdish official highlighted that the improved security situation has encouraged tourism. Checkpoints in the Kurdistan Region have been streamlined to facilitate tourism, and since February last year, electronic visas have been introduced for foreign tourists, he detailed.

Based on data from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) tourism board, the past year witnessed over six million tourists.

With its relatively moderate temperature in comparison to the rest of the country and its tremendous nature, the Kurdistan Region’s tourism has been a booming sector in recent years.

The KRG plans to attract 20 million tourists per year by 2030.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/people-places/14042024
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Re: Kurdistan Economy

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Jun 20, 2024 7:39 pm

Over 117,000 tourists visited
Erbil during Eid holiday


"The Erbil general tourism directorate's plans for the holidays have been successfully implemented," the Erbil governorate's office said.

According to the governorate, the plans included establishing committees tasked with providing essential services to visitors at checkpoints and monitoring their conditions at various tourist attractions.

With its relatively moderate temperatures in comparison to the rest of the country and its varied, beautiful nature, the Kurdistan Region is a popular tourist destination. Millions of visitors come every year, according to data from the tourism board.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) plans to expand the sector as it diversifies the economy away from a dependency on oil and aims to attract 20 million tourists per year by 2030. Over 7.2 million people visited the Kurdistan Region in 2023.

Iraq has very hot summers, particularly in the south, which regularly experiences temperatures around 50 degrees Celsius. However, a lack of access to basic services such as water and electricity makes it difficult for people to cope with the heat.

The bulk of holidaymakers visiting the Kurdistan Region come from the southern and central provinces of Iraq.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/200620241
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Re: Kurdistan Economy

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Jul 06, 2024 9:31 am

KRG Delegation Participates in Conference

The 12th Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) Conference will kick off in London. The spokesperson of the Kurdistan Region’s Investment Board said that one of the outcomes of the conference will be the opening of a branch of the University of London in Erbil, which will be the largest branch of the university in the Middle East

Bargasht Akrayi, spokesperson of the KRG’s Investment Board, told Kurdistan 24 from London that Mohammed Shukri, Chairman of the Board, will represent the Kurdistan Regional Government at the IBBC conference.

“This conference is held twice a year with the participation of officials from Erbil, London, and Baghdad, once in the UAE and once in London. The aim of the conference is to further develop trade and economic relations and to explore what else needs to be done to promote cooperation in terms of trade and investment,” Akrayi added.

In addition to the Chairman of the Investment Board, representatives of the Iraqi government, businessmen, investors, and representatives of British and international companies participates in the conference.

“British representatives will also be present, including prominent personalities and some parliamentarians who will deliver speeches and emphasize the further development of relations,” Akrayi noted.

    “One of the significant outcomes of the annual conference is the opening of a branch of the University of London, a world-renowned university, which is scheduled to open in Erbil next academic season. It will be the largest branch of the university in the Middle East.”
The Iraq Britain Business Council brings together business, trade, and investment for the benefit of Iraq and its members. The Council highlights that through its efforts, it has built a powerful network of some of the most important global corporations, key Iraqi and British companies, and trade chambers, enjoying the highest level of support from governments and international institutions.

IBBC lobbies for a strong private sector in one of the most private sector-adverse environments in the region. At its core is the belief that only private business and enterprise will be able to create the jobs and futures the overwhelmingly young Iraqi population is craving.

https://www.basnews.com/en/babat/852918
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