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KRG Prime Minister: Our Commitment to Citizens’ Well-Being and Kurdistan’s Progress

On Thursday, October 5, 2023, Prime Minister Masrour Barzani of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) attended the 42nd graduation ceremony of Salahaddin University in Erbil. In his speech, Prime Minister Barzani emphasised that despite the many challenges faced in recent years, and the federal government’s failure to provide the budget to the Kurdistan Region, the KRG has unwaveringly pursued its reform agenda, achieving significant progress across various sectors.

Here follows Prime Minister Barzani’s full speech:

“In the name of God, the most gracious, the most merciful,

“Respected professors of Salahaddin University, dear graduating students, families of the students and honourable guests, I am honoured to be part of the 42nd graduation ceremony of Salahaddin University – Erbil. My heartfelt congratulations to all the graduating students, and I extend my best wishes for success and a prosperous future in their endeavours.

“I would like to express my gratitude to the parents and families who have tirelessly supported their children in completing their studies. My thanks also go to the Chancellor, the University Council, and all the dedicated lecturers for their sacred duty in imparting knowledge and shaping the minds of our future generations. Best wishes for your continued success.

“On the occasion of Teachers’ Day, I extend my warmest congratulations to the dedicated teachers of the Kurdistan Region. Despite facing salary delays due to the federal government’s failure to provide the region’s financial rights, their unwavering commitment to education has remained steadfast. Their resilience and determination deserve our utmost respect and appreciation.

“The advancement of education and enhancement of university standards are central to the KRG’s agenda. We are dedicated to fostering transformative change and ensuring that our education system keeps pace with contemporary advancements in science and technology. Our vision is for the Kurdistan Region to be a society filled with knowledge, where our graduates possess not just degrees, but the essential expertise needed to contribute to a thriving society.

“Many graduates are concerned about employment opportunities after their studies. While many hope for positions in the public sector, we are making strides to improve conditions in the private sector as well, ensuring rights and future well-being are protected.

“Due to the large number of students graduating annually, it’s not feasible for the KRG to accommodate all within the public sector. We are, however, committed to expanding job opportunities across various sectors, especially within the private domain. The recent unveiling of the Gashanawa (Shine) project, aimed at supporting small and medium-sized businesses, is a testament to our efforts in creating more job avenues for our youth.

“In recent years, we have achieved many accomplishments, from combating corruption to enhancing public services, despite numerous challenges. Under normal circumstances, our situation would have been even more favourable. Yet, we remain optimistic about the future, confident that economic growth and abundant job opportunities await the youth of the Kurdistan Region.

“We are blessed with a nation rich in both natural and human resources. Our educated youth have the potential to drive positive change and significantly contribute to the development of the Kurdistan Region.

“Lastly, I understand the concerns surrounding salaries. During my recent visit to Baghdad, I stressed that the salary issue shouldn’t be overshadowed by political disputes.

“The Kurdistan Region holds a unique constitutional position within Iraq. Salary issues should be addressed via the appropriate KRG channels, not through suggested unconstitutional links to Baghdad’s direct payment system. Protecting Kurdistan’s constitutional rights as a federal entity is crucial, ensuring Iraq’s federal system remains intact. During a recent trip to Baghdad, with backing from the majority of Kurdistan’s political factions, we achieved an impactful mutual understanding with the federal government. Yet, some are trying to erode this agreement, urging Baghdad to directly pay Kurdistan’s public sector salaries. This not only infringes on Kurdistan’s constitutional rights but also weakens its institutional foundation. Such acts threaten the unity we’ve worked hard to maintain. I urge those involved to prioritise Kurdistan and its collective rights over personal gains. Our future survival lies in the strength of the Kurdistan Region.

“In closing, I trust in our people’s resilience and spirit. With the combined efforts of our patriotic youth and God’s grace, the future of Kurdistan is bright.

“Congratulations to all graduates, and may the Kurdistan Region continue to flourish.”

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