Our goal is to build a #StrongerKurdistan: Secure, stable, prosperous, and a reliable ally within the international community. My ambition is for us to realise that goal together. https://t.co/7iOv70b1En pic.twitter.com/Ka4BkG2KZU
— Masrour Barzani (@masrour_barzani) December 7, 2019
On the occasion of 100 days from the establishment of the 9th KRG Cabinet, Prime Minister Masrour Barzani talks about the achievements and the challenges of his government.
“We’ve made significant progress on issues that are crucial to this region – issues like improving the relationship with Baghdad, tackling corruption, restoring our public finances to health and making the government more efficient.
Regarding the income of government bodies, one of the first decisions the cabinet made was to collect all income through the Ministry of Finance and Economy, to understand clearly our income and our spending. We have been able to increase internal revenues and this year we are on track to increase internal revenues by 50%.
On corruption – we have created an environment that no long allows corruption to spread. We have cleared hundreds of ghost employees from the public payroll and this process will continue.
We have worked on a new single online portal for government services. Already, we have digitized some services and we will be launching others. The KRG’s single, centralized data center is on track for completion in the first half of next year. This data center will host digital services to citizens and businesses, making it easier to access government services.
One of the main focuses of this government has been strengthening our relationship with Baghdad. Improving that relationship will have a real impact on people’s everyday lives here and across Iraq. Peace and stability in Iraq are in the interests of our region. I’m pleased to say that progress in our discussions so far has been strong. The budget has been restored to Kurdistan, we’re exporting Kirkuk oil together and we’re bringing customs policies into line. And solving the question of the constitutional rights of the Kurdistan Region enables us to start work on public projects in the interests of the Kurdistan Region and the Iraqi peoples. We have renewed agreements with key international partners for training and equipment of the Peshmerga forces.
For too long, our economy, our revenues and our exports have been too dominated by oil. We have also become heavily reliant on imports and ignored other sectors. That’s why one of our priorities is to diversify the economy and our income. We cannot accept relying on one source of income alone; we want to move from a region that uses goods to one that is a producer.
One area I know has been a major concern for people is electricity. We are now using more Kurdistani gas, which allows us to reduce our reliance on imported diesel fuel and it will save considerable money.
Our future depends on our children’s education – and we cannot neglect it. We expect companies to play a bigger role in supporting the education sector by building schools across the region.
Though we have made a strong start in the first 100 working days, there is much more to be done. The government still isn’t as efficient as it needs to be to realize our vision. We have the capacity to achieve and produce more from our human and natural resources.”