PM Masrour Barzani: we could overcome crises through the reform agenda
Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (GOV.KRD) – Prime Minister Masrour Barzani delivered a speech on the occasion of the third anniversary of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s ninth cabinet. The Prime Minister presented a summary of the cabinet’s achievements in the past three years and spoke about plans and programs for the near future. The following is the full speech:
On the third anniversary of the ninth cabinet of the Kurdistan Regional Government I wanted to talk to you about what we have achieved in the past three years as well as our plans and programs moving forward.
It is important to know that soon after this cabinet assumed its duties The Kurdistan Region and the world faced a global health crisis. The outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, which led to a financial crisis with consequences still affecting us.
At the same time, unfortunately, the federal government’s financial obligations towards the Kurdistan Region lasted only a few months. It It did not send the 200 bn IQD required to complete payments of public salaries. Meanwhile there were efforts, externally and internally, to impede the work of your government.
However, the KRG was to a great extent able to overcome these crises, by implementing its reform and diversification programs.
What we have done:
In finances, we continued to pay public salaries, although there have been delays. We didn’t have the budget to pay full salaries for a few months, but the distribution process continued from the available budgets.
In this cabinet, we managed to get through a difficult period with limited revenues and without taking any loans. Not only did we not create a burden for future generations by borrowing money, ew in fact reduced government debts and recently repaid more than a billion USD of debt.
Through administrative and financial reforms internal revenues increased by 100%. To strengthen the economic infrastructure of the Kurdistan Region we have worked to diversify the economy and revenue channels. Most of our spending after 2014 was on road infrastructure. In this cabinet, support for agricultural development, and investment in the sector increased significantly. And opportunities to export local Kurdish produce abroad and find markets
have become a reality.
We have also implemented large and strategic projects to provide food security. Some of the projects are already complete, others are under construction. We have worked to provide water security, building new dams and reservoirs.
In the electricity sector, we have strengthened the sector’s infrastructure to prevent waste and have increased supply to the national grid.
In public transport, we have taken practical steps to upgrade the public transport system and build railways
In public administration, through reform we have reorganized governance and administration systems within the ministries and departments. Many government services have moved online and been digitalized while we have reached milestones in becoming an e-government. A central data center has been created for the government as well as establishing a system of digital census for the Kurdistan Region.
We are working hard to reduce bureaucracy in government departments and institutions, including the distribution of powers and the transfer of services from provinces to the districts. We have worked to reduce corruption, with continued efforts to end and limit the waste of public funds and the abuse of power.
In this cabinet, there is strong cooperation between members of the cabinet and the Council of Ministers. The Council of Ministers has held a record of weekly meetings to discuss and find solutions for issues facing our citizens and follow the progress of the government agenda.
There is also a good relationship between the government and the Parliament. Ministers and government officials have repeatedly called on the Parliament and parliamentary committees to answer questions and report on government work.
In the education sector, in addition to making contract teachers permanent employees, renovating and building new schools, developing online education
expanding academic and educational exchange programs with other countries to further advance the quality of education in the Kurdistan Region, we were able to establish the Kurdistan Accrediting Association for Education.
For public awareness we have continuously provided information and updates about the work, activities and projects of the government, while advocating for freedom of expression and the press, and building the grounds for responsible media work in the Kurdistan Region.
We continue to embrace the culture of peaceful coexistence among all the components of the Kurdistan Region as our efforts continue to eliminate violence and gender discrimination while empowering women in our communities.
We’ve paid close attention to the protection of the environmental and the use of green and clean energy.
In defense and national security
The reforms of the Ministry of Peshmerga and the unification of the Peshmerga forces was for the first time set in motion in this cabinet.
We continue to confront terrorists, thwarting their attacks and threats. Arresting criminals and drug traffickers, while supporting the courts to punish perpetrators. We carry out field visits to Peshmerga frontlines and work to strengthen defensive lines against terrorists. And recently we launched a campaign to eradicate unlicensed weapons
On relations with the federal government, within our set policy of resolving pending issues and preserving our constitutional rights, we have always worked to solve those problems and our delegation from the KRG has regularly visited Baghdad in pursuit of dialogue and solutions based on the constitution. These efforts will continue.
In diplomacy and international relations
We work to strengthen our relations and during our visits to regional, Arab and European countries and in international forums and conferences
we have explained the stance of the Kurdistan Region, and strengthened our ties.
Our plans and agenda for the upcoming months:
Moving ahead with our policy of diversifying the economy and revenue sources, and developing and increasing investment in the agricultural sector, building new dams and continuing to work to provide water security. Establishing a system to solve the issue of garbage collection and waste management in the cities of the Kurdistan Region.
Increasing electricity production using solar energy, flared gas and energy sources that reduce the price of electricity generation. Continuing to support the youth of Kurdistan to launch small projects and create more job opportunities.
Adopting an advanced banking system to enhance trade, stimulate economic exchange and upgrade banking services. Expanding the scope of services in cities and increasing green spaces and protected areas.
Building new housing units for low-income families. Developing services and living amenities in villages and towns. Strengthening domestic and border security and ensuring that the Kurdistan Region is not turned into a threat and a base for attacks against any other country.
These points were a summary of a number of government programs which will be presented in detail by our ministers.
Dear beloved Kurdistanis, as citizens of Kurdistan you are the most importance for this cabinet.
And I assure you that we will do everything in our power to serve you to the fullest and to meet all of your expectations and aspirations