Iraq is looking for a “legal way out” to approve next year’s budget

Iraq is looking for a “legal way out” to approve next year’s budget

12/16/2019

Iraq is looking for a legal way out to approve next years budgetThe Federal Budget Law in Iraq for the year 2020 faces the risk of postponement or cancellation after the transformation of the current government into a “caretaker” government, after the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi at the end of last month, while political blocs are looking for a “legal way out” to pass the law before the end of the current year .

The government’s spokesman, Saad Al-Hadithi, declared that “the prime minister is looking for legal ways in which the caretaker government can propose a draft law and send it to Parliament,” justifying the delay in the budget law and its failure to complete it earlier this year with “the government’s keenness to include a draft The budget law demands demonstrators.

Abdel-Mahdi confirmed on December 4 that the powers of the current government are limited, indicating that it cannot send a draft budget law for 2020 to parliament.

Legal problem

In Article 62, the Iraqi constitution gives the government the right to propose laws, including preparing the country’s general budget law and the final account and sending it to parliament for voting, but turning it into a “caretaker government” that limits its activities to the normal course of routine and matters only.

Legal expert Ali Al-Tamimi says that “Parliament is obligated to resort to the 12/1 budget for financial management in Article 13 as it happened in previous years, and that such spending is for the operational budget only without spending any amounts for the investment budget.”

He asserts that if the government violates the constitution and sends the budget to parliament, this step is subject to appeal before the Federal Court.

But some sources have talked about the possibility of sending the budget bill to parliament if the date of its preparation is old and before the government submitted its resignation on November 28th, which is a risky move, especially if it includes passing financial agreements between the blocs and the Iraqi parties and was subsequently challenged. At the Federal Court.

According to Member of Parliament’s Finance Committee, Ahmed Hama, the budget will reach Parliament soon, despite the Prime Minister’s assurance that he is unable to do so. Hama asserts that “the caretaker government is not able to send the budget, but the current government is able to send it based on the letter of acceptance of the government’s resignation indicating the formation of committees and sending the budget to parliament.”

Situations

The positions of the political blocs differ from the proposed draft of the general budget, especially with regard to the share of the Kurdistan region, where the Arab blocs refuse to allocate 17 percent to the region after he refused to implement an agreement last year to deliver Baghdad 250 thousand barrels per day of Kurdish provinces oil in exchange for the inclusion of the region’s employees in the federal budget . However, Kurdish leaders spoke last month about a new agreement with Abdul Mahdi on the budget, and confirmed that the delegation of the Kurdistan Regional Government to negotiate with Baghdad was able to conduct successful negotiations on the region’s share of the Iraqi budget, and 15 paragraphs of the sovereign budget were canceled, thereby increasing the region’s budget Kurdistan, and Iraq will pay the expenses of transporting 250 thousand barrels of oil that the region will deliver to Iraq. As for the region, it will cover the payment of the dues of the National Oil Company “Sumo”.

On the other hand, the southern oil-producing provinces refuse to implement any agreement with the Kurdish side that does not include holding Erbil accountable for the oil it was exporting without Baghdad’s approval and its failure to implement previous agreements. The deputy of Basra Governorate, Mansour Al-Baiji, believes that the outgoing Prime Minister, “Habi,” the Kurdistan Regional Government, by giving a budget to the region and paying money during his rule.

He adds, “If the Kurdistan Regional Government is sincere in intentions with the central government, then it must wait until the selection of a new prime minister to be agreed upon on all oil and financial matters in order to guarantee the rights of all of our provinces.”

Great deficit

And the expected deficit in the draft budget law for the next year is very large and may reach 70 trillion Iraqi dinars (more than 50 billion dollars), according to the copies published by the government, and the matter may be worse if oil prices drop to below 60 dollars per barrel. And if investment projects are halted because exchange is limited to salaries, the Iraqi economy will be severely affected.

The Arab Independent

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