KRG


Modernization of Public Administration “is KRG priority”

KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani inaugurated the new building of Kurdistan Institute of Public Administration (KIPA) on Tuesday.

In a speech, Prime Minister Barzani stated, he hopes that KIPA “will continue to work diligently to provide the much needed services of building the capacities of Kurdistan Regional Government’s civil servants.”

Below is the transcript of Mr. Barzani’s speech:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good Morning.  I would like to welcome you all to this ceremony of inaugurating the new building of Kurdistan Institute of Public Administration (KIPA). I would like to specially welcome the Republic of Korea’s Ambassador to Iraq Mr. Song Wong-Yeob, Korean Consul General in the Kurdistan Region and the Head of Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in Baghdad. I especially welcome Professor Park who came from Seoul specifically to this occasion and I welcome you all again.

Today, human resources’ development is important for change and progress in all sectors and major fields, especially in the fields of governance and administration. Capacity building and Development is key to the development of Administrative, economic, social and cultural sectors.

Competency and capacity are very important for human resources. One of the main pillars of human resources’ development is training. That is equipping the staff member with up-to-date information and more knowledge about their field of work. Information and knowledge get updated continuously. In order to enable the KRG institutions and their staff to cope with the progress in all fields, especially good governance, the KRG should make training and capacity building part of its human resources development strategy.

Therefore, all technical, material and moral necessities should be made available for this purpose and all parties and individuals should be urged to adhere to implement the directives and instructions related to capacity building and training. And this is, again, for the purpose of developing the civil service in administrative, technical and theoretical areas based on modern principles.

KRG efforts to Simplify Access to Govt Services

Key Ministers and officials from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KR-I) alongside representatives of the private sector, civil society, labour unions, the international community, donors and development agencies convened at a high-level conference yesterday in Erbil on E-Governance and Public Service Centres.

The Ministry of Interior of the KR-I organized the conference under the auspices of the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, H.E. Mr. Nechirvan Barzani, and with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The conference examined progress on efforts of the Ministry of Interior to simplify citizens’ access to basic government administrative services, such as the e-visa and the new drivers’ licence renewal system, through online electronic platforms that can be used also from the convenience of their homes.

This comes under a project entitled E-Governance for Better Service Delivery that the Ministry launched in March 2017, with help from UNDP, aiming to improve the responsiveness, transparency, and accountability of its delivery of quality administrative services to the public. To that end, the project promotes the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), including computer-aided platforms that can also be accessed remotely through the internet.

“The Ministry of Interior is committed to providing the quickest high-quality services to the citizens,” emphasized the Minister of Interior, Mr. Kareem Sinjari. “This will not only save considerable time and money for the citizens and Ministry alike, but it will help address potential administrative and financial corruption as well.”

Baghdad denies Russian Claims regarding KRG Oil Deals

By John Lee.

The Iraqi Ministry of Oil has denied reports that Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak discussed Russian oil companies’ operations in Iraqi Kurdistan with the Iraqi prime minister or oil minister during his trip to Iraq.

Novak had been quoted as saying that Baghdad had no problems with Russian companies doing business with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

Baghdad reasserted that while it welcomes foreign investment in the country, “oil is a sovereign resource and therefore all contracts … must be signed with the federal government and the Ministry of Oil.

(Sources: Reuters, Rudaw)

How Likely is a New Government really in Iraqi Kurdistan?

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Since the ill-fated Kurdish independence referendum, critics have been calling for the current government of the region to be replaced. But, as some critics say, nobody is serious about this prospect.

The semi-autonomous northern region of Iraqi Kurdistan has had a rough few months. Since the region held the referendum on Kurdish independence, asking whether the zone should secede from the rest of the country, Iraqi Kurdistan has been under pressure from the federal authorities in Baghdad in many ways.

As a result, there have been many calls for the dismissal of the current Iraqi Kurdish government and the appointment of a new one.

On November 23, the opposition Change movement, also known as Goran, submitted a list of demands to the Kurdish authorities – the most significant of these was the proposal to form an interim government that would be in charge of affairs in Iraqi Kurdistan until the next elections.

The Change movement had already asked the group of Islamic parties in Iraqi Kurdistan and a new party formed by prominent local politician, Barham Salih, to form a government with them for this reason.

“In our last meeting with the delegation from the government we were told they were not in favour of this idea, but they didn’t reject the idea outright either,” Dana Abdulkarim, a senior member of the Change movement, told NIQASH. “They told us they would discuss the idea and inform us of any results.”

However, Abdulkarim added, his party believes that the region’s most popular party, the Kurdistan Democratic Party, or KDP, is “stonewalling” the proposal. They don’t want change, he says. “But we will continue to demand an interim government be formed and we will launch a media campaign in this regard too.”

New Pipeline to Export Kirkuk Oil via Ceyhan

By John Lee.

Iraq’s Oil Ministry has announced that it will build a new pipeline from Baiji to Fishkabur, enabling Kirkuk oil to be exported again from Turkey’s Ceyhan port (pictured).

Kirkuk’s oil was previously being exported via the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) pipeline to Ceyhan, but this has been on hold since Baghdad took control of the area.

Plans to rehabilitate Baghdad’s existing oil pipeline to Turkey, which was badly damaged by militants in 2014, have been scrapped.

(Sourced: Ministry of Oil, Rudaw)

KRG PM Barzani holds Talks with Kurdistan Political Parties

Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani continued consultations with Kurdistan political parties to support unity and solidarity.

Accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani and a number of KRG senior officials, they visited Suleimaniya and met with the leaderships of the Change (Gorran) Movement, Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), and the Kurdistan Democratic Socialist Party.

Prime Minister Barzani and the head of the Change Movement, Omer Said Ali, exchanged views regarding the current situation, political developments in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq, and relations between Erbil and Baghdad. They agreed to abide by the general principles and stressed the unity of rank among the political parties. The Change Movement submitted a number of proposals for which additional meetings will be held.

Prime Minister Barzani emphasized the KRG needs the full support of all parties until it overcomes the current crisis and a general election is held. He added that the KRG’s operational term has been extended by unanimous agreement of the Kurdistan Parliament.

At the PUK headquarters, Prime Minister Barzani and his accompanying delegation met with Ms. Hero Ibrahim Ahmed and a number of leadership members. Preparations for upcoming elections were discussed with emphasis on the importance of dialogue with Baghdad based on the Iraqi Constitution.

The delegation later visited the headquarters of Kurdistan Democratic Socialist Party and met with Mr. Muhammad Haji Mahmood and a number of his party’s leaders. Serious dialogue with Baghdad and importance of strengthening unity among all political parties in the Kurdistan Region were highlighted in the meeting. They also discussed international support for strong government in the Kurdistan Region.

(Source: KRG)

Human Rights Training for Teachers in Kurdistan

The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) Human Rights Office (HRO) in cooperation with the Ministry of Education in Kurdistan Region of Iraq organized a four-day training course in Erbil for 23 teacher, including 9 females, during 13 – 16 November on human rights education.

This was the second in a series of courses organized by HRO and supported by the Flemish Government and the Ministry of Education in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KR-I).

Mr. Yousif Othman, Director-General of the Planning Department in Ministry of Education in KR-I welcomed the training, which targets Public School teachers in KR-I. He also highlighted the importance of mainstreaming human rights principles in the curricula and teaching methods and techniques.

Ms. Shahla Saeed, Human Rights Education Project Manager at HRO emphasized the role of teachers in influencing students’ attitudes in line with human rights values and fundamental freedoms in schools.

The overall goal of the training focused on raising awareness of teachers and supervisors of secondary schools on human rights education in Erbil Governorate and its surroundings and districts (Soran, Koya, Khabat, Makhmour and Shaqlawa).

(Source: UNAMI)

Baghdad Increases Pressure on KRG with Budget Cut

By Omar Sattar for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. 

The first draft of Iraq’s federal budget for 2018, approved by the government at the start of the month, envisions slashing the Kurdish region’s share from 17% to 12.7% of the total.

The cut is one of several “punitive” constitutional measures that followed the Sept. 25 Kurdish referendum on independence. Those measures also saw Baghdad seize control of disputed areas, border crossings and air bases, and demand that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) transfer taxes and other public revenues to the central government.

This is the first time that the KRG’s share of the budget has been subject to review since 2005, when the government of then interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi allocated 17% to the Kurdish region, despite the fact there has not been an official census in Iraq since 1997.

“There have been no negotiations so far with Baghdad on the budget or other pending issues, despite the KRG’s desire for talks,” said parliament member Najiba Najib of the Kurdistan Alliance. “The central government is still refusing to receive the Kurdish delegation.”

“Iraq still doesn’t currently have official statistics,” she added. “Even data from the Ministry of Trade is inaccurate. It’s not reasonable to believe that the population of the Kurdish region has stayed at just 5 million, as the United Nations said in 2003 when it recommended the KRG receive 13% of the national budget.”

She said the central government has felt “arrogant and powerful” since it regained control of Kirkuk.

Border Crossings deepen Baghdad-Erbil conflict

By Adnan Abu Zeed for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. 

In a Nov. 14 press conference, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi warned the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) authorities that he will not wait long to take control of the Kurdistan region’s border crossings with Turkey and Iran. “We will regain control of border areas without escalation. But our patience will run out. We will not wait forever. We will take action,” Abadi said.

Turkish Minister of Customs and Trade Bulent Tufenkci ssid previously that his country has reached an agreement with Iraq’s central government to open a border crossing through Ovakoy in Sirnak province, southeast Turkey. Being out of the reach of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, the crossing in Ovakoy is a strong economic and political blow to Kurdistan Region authorities.

The border dispute is a result of the desire of Baghdad, Turkey and Iran to keep Kurdish influence at bay. Kurdish authorities have been delaying the handover of the borders, and the Iraqi forces have threatened to start operations to gain control over the crossings.

Meanwhile, the United States and its Iranian opponent are both interested in the Faysh Khabur strategic crossing. The United States is trying to avoid a conflict and it is working on setting a “common security strategy” for all areas of conflict, including the crossing. This explains why the United States has suggested the presence of representatives from its US-led coalition at the crossing.

The Popular Mobilization Units have expressed interest in reclaiming the crossing, which would connect them with their allies in Syria. Moreover, the location links the Kirkuk-Ceyhan oil pipeline to Turkey and acts as an important and lucrative economic passage between Iraq and its neighbors.

KRG “Respects” Court Decision on Independence

By John Lee.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said on Tuesday that it would accept a Supreme Court decision prohibiting the region from seceding from Iraq.

It said in a statement:

At the request of the Secretary General of the Iraqi Council of Ministers on November 5th, 2017, the Federal Supreme Court issued Decision No. 122 on November 6th, 2017, regarding the interpretation of the Article 1 of the Iraqi Constitution which states: ‘The Republic of Iraq is a federal, independent and fully sovereign state in which the system of government is parliamentary and democratic republic, and this Constitution is a guarantor of the unity of Iraq.’

“As we, in the Kurdistan Region, have always emphasized on finding solutions to disputes between the federal Authorities and the Kurdistan Region through constitutional and legal means, and based on our known position which welcomes all relevant initiatives, especially the initiatives by the Grand Ayatollah Ali Al- Sistani, Iraqi dignitaries and friendly countries to the Iraqi people regarding addressing disputes on the basis of the Constitution, we respect the interpretation of the Federal Supreme Court of the First Article of the Iraqi Constitution.

“We believe that this Decision must become a basis for starting an inclusive national dialogue between Erbil and Baghdad to resolve all disputes through implementation of all constitutional articles and in a way that guarantees all rights, authorities and status mentioned in the Constitution, since this is the only way to secure the unity of Iraq, as Article 1 stated.

(Source: KRG)