ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Iraqi parliament will convene and vote on the three-year budget bill later this week, the second deputy speaker of the legislature said on Sunday, two months after the Council of Ministers approved the bill.
Iraq’s Council of Ministers in mid-March approved the federal budget bill for the years 2023, 2024, and 2025. Iraq did not have a budget in 2022 because it took a year of negotiations to form a government after October 2021 elections.
“The federal budget law will be voted on this week,” Shakhawan Abdullah, second deputy speaker of the Iraqi parliament, said in a statement, adding that “the finance committee is scheduled to complete its final report” on the bill.
The lack of a budget jeopardized Iraq’s oil-dependent economy and prevented the government from taking advantage of soaring oil prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to combat poverty, expand infrastructure, and bring much-needed economic stability.
In April, Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani defended the budget bill, saying that it “sends a positive message of economic stability.”
“The parliament will hold a special session to approve the general budget, because it is an important law and citizens in all Iraqi provinces are waiting for it,” Abdullah said.
Included in the budget is a record $152 billion in government spending, which has sparked concerns of instability should oil prices drop below the $70 per barrel threshold set in the bill.
Abdullah has previously urged for the budget bill to be approved. Last month, he told Rudaw’s Sangar Abdulrahman that “we should not further delay the approval of the federal budget.”
In oil-reliant Iraq, global prices of oil hold significant sway over the economy.
Source: Rudaw, 14-05-2023