Baghdad Would Pay Salaries of Kurdish Employees for Oil, Says Iraqi Minister

Baghdad Would Pay Salaries of Kurdish Employees for Oil, Says Iraqi Minister

The Iraqi government is ready to pay salaries of the public employees on the Kurdistan Region’s payroll if Erbil hands Kurdish-held oil fields over to Baghdad, said Secretary General of the Council of Ministers, Mahdi Al-Alaq on Sunday (November 26).

“Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has been clear on his ambition to tackle any problem with the Kurdistan region through peaceful means and through discussions and dialogue away from any military friction,” Alaq said during an interview with Al-Sabaah newspaper.

Alaq said there is need for Baghdad to restore power fully in disputed areas until their status is permanently sorted out.

The Kurdistan Region has struggled to pay salaries on time for public employees on its payroll, with many having gone months without full wages.

Senior KRG officials have already cut government employee salaries by 15 to 75 percent, depending on position and salary bracket, as part of austerity measures to deal with the ongoing economic crisis.

Officials say remaining salary amounts will be credited and paid back to workers, once the region emerges from the financial crunch.

The latest feud between Erbil and Baghdad stems from Baghdad’s economic and military measures taken in retaliation for the Kurdistan referendum on Sept. 25, which saw 92.7 percent of the voters support independence.