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KRG Prime Minister announces several projects in Akre and Bardarash

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) visited Akre province on May 22, where he announced several significant projects aimed at enhancing the development and prosperity of the area. During his visit, the Prime Minister affirmed the government’s commitment to the Akre region and its people, emphasising the importance of tangible actions rather than mere promises.

One of the key projects unveiled by the Prime Minister was the establishment of Akre University of Applied Sciences, which will provide valuable educational opportunities for the local population. Additionally, plans were announced for the construction of Garmian Polytechnic University, further expanding access to quality education in the Garmian region.

In his address to the public, Prime Minister Barzani touched upon the current state of affairs between the KRG and the federal government in Baghdad. He expressed satisfaction with the progress made in reaching an agreement with the Iraqi government led by Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani on critical matters such as oil, budget, and the long-standing disputes between Erbil and Baghdad. The Prime Minister reassured the audience that the KRG had fulfilled all its obligations towards Baghdad and now awaited the federal government’s implementation of the agreed measures. The approval of the federal budget was highlighted as a pivotal step towards unlocking doors for a prosperous economy that would benefit both the Kurdistan Region and Iraq as a whole.

Acknowledging the economic challenges faced by the Kurdistan Region in recent months, largely due to the inability to export oil, Prime Minister Barzani expressed appreciation for the resilience of the government and its determination to continue with ongoing projects. He assured the public that despite some delays in disbursing salaries to the public sector workforce, the government remained committed to fulfilling its financial obligations and ensuring timely salary payments. The Prime Minister also called upon the central government in Baghdad to treat all Iraqi citizens fairly and equitably, underscoring the need for a balanced and cooperative approach to financial matters.

Turning his attention to local politics within the Kurdistan Region, Prime Minister Barzani highlighted a recent call made by Mr. Massoud Barzani to the people of Kurdistan, urging them to foster unity, peace, and cooperation for the betterment of the Kurdish people. The Prime Minister encouraged all political parties to respond positively to this call and work towards the collective interests of the Kurdish people, moving beyond narrow party politics. He also touched upon recent disputes within the KRG cabinet, which had temporarily led to the absence of ministers from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). However, through productive dialogue and in alignment with Mr. Massoud Barzani’s message, the disputes were resolved, and the PUK ministers, including the Deputy Prime Minister, Qubad Talabani, resumed their participation in government meetings. The Prime Minister expressed his hope that these meetings would continue, enabling the government to concentrate on effectively serving the people.

Prime Minister Barzani also highlighted the recent decision by the Kurdistan Parliament to activate the Kurdistan Region’s High Electoral Commission, a significant step towards the facilitation of timely elections. Stressing the importance of protecting the region’s legitimacy, the Prime Minister emphasised that the implementation of the decision would reaffirm the Kurdish people’s belief in democracy and the electoral process. He expressed hope that the elections would be held as scheduled, towards the end of the year, and underscored the critical role of democratic participation in upholding the region’s local and international standing.

Directing his attention to local developments in Akre and Bardarash, Prime Minister Barzani commended the people for their steadfastness in defending the region’s legitimacy and their resilience in the face of terrorism. Expressing gratitude towards the families of martyrs and acknowledging the bravery of the Peshmerga forces, the Prime Minister reiterated the government’s commitment to the well-being of the region’s citizens.

While acknowledging the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, declining oil prices, and termination of budget allocations from the federal government in Baghdad, the Prime Minister emphasised the government’s determination to prioritise the needs of the Akre region. He highlighted the region’s vibrant religious and ethnic coexistence, where Muslims, Christians, and Yazidis live harmoniously together. The Prime Minister reassured the audience that the government remains impartial in matters of land ownership, advocating for justice as the guiding principle in resolving any disputes that may arise. He pledged to support individuals whose lands have been unjustly taken or occupied, emphasising the government’s commitment to upholding fairness and protecting the rights of all citizens.

Recognising the potential for tourism in the region, Prime Minister Barzani emphasised the presence of picturesque mountains and valleys that attract visitors. However, he acknowledged the current challenges, including budget constraints and the presence of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in the mountains, which hinder the delivery of public services and the return of people to certain villages. The Prime Minister called upon these groups to respect the law and the legitimacy of the Kurdistan Region, urging them to cease obstructing and threatening the people and allow the government to provide essential services to all regions. The government’s objective is to ensure equal access to public services without discrimination.

Highlighting the efforts to promote economic growth and diversification, Prime Minister Barzani recognised the significance of agriculture to the region’s economy. He emphasised the government’s focus on supporting the agricultural sector and investing in agricultural technology. Through collaboration with international allies, experts, local farmers, and relevant ministries, the government seeks to enhance the agricultural sector and increase local production. The Prime Minister stressed the potential of the region’s fertile lands to benefit not only the Kurdistan Region but also the wider area. Investing in agriculture would not only contribute to the region’s economic development but also have positive ripple effects on industry, trade, employment opportunities, and overall revenue generation. The government’s commitment to local farmers and its support for the application of science and technology in agriculture aims to foster increased production, empower local communities, and boost employment prospects.

The Prime Minister further highlighted two strategic projects of great significance to the Akre region: the construction of the Ismawa and Bakrman dams and the Mandawa dam. These projects are expected to have a transformative impact on various sectors, including agriculture, tourism, industry, and employment. Prime Minister Barzani expressed his positive discussions with Iraq’s Water Resources minister, who showed willingness to collaborate in implementing these projects for the region’s benefit.

In an effort to expand access to international markets for Kurdish produce, Prime Minister Barzani mentioned the successful export of pomegranates from Halabja and Zakho to several Gulf states. He emphasised the government’s commitment to increasing the export of other domestic produce, such as apples, grapes, rice, potatoes, figs, and sumac, which have the potential to compete globally. The Prime Minister highlighted the economic opportunities these exports could bring, serving as a source of income for the region’s population and providing support for the KRG’s overall economy.

The number of young people in Kurdistan, particularly in the Akre region, is significantly high, and a majority of them are actively seeking employment. The Prime Minister appealed to parents not to hinder their children’s education, especially that of girls, adding that it is crucial for parents to support their children’s pursuit of education, as it plays a vital role in building a healthier and more prosperous society. The PM stressed the importance of equality between boys and girls, not only in education but also in other fields such as security, medicine, engineering, law, and politics, emphasising that women deserve equal opportunities and rights.

Prime Minister Barzani called on the youth to develop their own projects, confirming the government’s commitment to supporting their endeavours, particularly in the private sector. Barzani went on to say that the government will support projects that create job opportunities for others, emphasising that this approach is far more advantageous than waiting for employment in the public sector.

Some schools in the Kurdistan Region, including Akre, still operate in three shifts per day to accommodate three different schools. The PM stated that the Minister of Education had informed him that the number of these types of schools has decreased. He confirmed that the government had made significant progress by opening new schools, expanding existing schools with additional classrooms, and renovating others. Furthermore, there are plans underway to construct new schools in the near future.

The Prime Minister announced the establishment of Akre University for the Applied Sciences, adding that this new university will serve the region effectively. Additionally, the government is planning to establish Garmian Polytechnic University in the Garmian region.

Regarding sports, the PM stated that the government is actively implementing various sports projects in Dinarta, Akre, and Bardarash, pledging his personal support to clubs and sports teams in this region.

Prime Minister Barzani urged the public to support the government in its efforts to protect the environment. The PM stated that taking care of the environment is of utmost importance, adding that it saddens him to witness people littering in tourist areas. PM Barzani stressed that parents should take the lead in educating their children about the significance of Kurdistan as our homeland and the importance of not littering in streets, tourist spots, or countryside picnic areas. The PM added that effort must also be taken to avoid unnecessary deforestation.

The Prime Minister urged the public to drive more cautiously to prevent tragic accidents, adding that public safety is paramount.

Prime Minister Barzani concluded by saying that the youth in Kurdistan must have faith in our nation, emphasising that no country in the world can or should rely on people from other countries to build it for them. The PM stressed that the people of Kurdistan have a responsibility to construct and develop our own country, and must believe in our ability to do so. Barzani reaffirmed the government’s duty to serve its people, and emphasised the tireless efforts made to fulfil this responsibility. He added that service extends beyond infrastructure projects; and also encompasses remote regions, digitalisation of public services, and the elimination of bureaucratic processes, saying that these are priorities the government has diligently pursued.

The Prime Minister urged the public to believe in themselves and not heed the negative voices that try to extinguish hope or encourage them to leave their country. He asked citizens to show the same determination and resilience that peshmerga forces have displayed in defending our country, adding that they can help protect our homeland and counter the negative propaganda disseminated by our enemies. He finished his speech by calling on the public to join forces to rebuild our country and support the government’s efforts for a more prosperous Kurdistan.

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