Solving the Kurdistan Region’s Political and Economic Crises: Statement by Gorran

14/2/2016 – Gorran: Introduction : The core cause for the creation of crises in the Kurdistan Region is the existence of widespread corruptions covering all joints of governance, albeit due to the outdated and ill-intended system, in which partisanship and nepotism have upper hands in preserving it. The level of corruption is so high that has precipitated serious disturbances in the political, economic, and social circumstances. Of the more troubling to the citizens of Kurdistan Region is the apparent corruption in the economic sectors, mainly the primary and the secondary sectors that are touching the livelihoods of people in this part of the world.

Although the wealth and resources of these sectors belong to people of this region; however, through an organised corruption, the resources of oil and gas, generating 96% Gross Domestic Product (GDP), are being looted by a small number of individuals. In addition, it is this very wrong politics that has provided the excuses to the federal government to cut the budget share of the region and lead the relations between Erbil and Baghdad to the current deteriorated level.

Currently, most of the civil-servants have not been received their salaries for the past five months, the majority of the projects have been halted, and critical services have visibly been reduced, all of which have contributed to a deep recession in the Kurdistan Region. Hence, instead of participating in the development of their country, people of this region are migrating with some facing their deaths by drowning in the Aegean Sea just to escape from their miseries. Altogether, these outcomes have created devastating consequences on social and family relationships.

In spite of all these, the governing apparatus continues with its ignorant policies without any consideration to change its course. In fact, it follows on by violating the rule of law and legitimacy, and the attempts to regress public will, while insisting on its coup d’etat on the legitimacy of the parliament which has crippled it and installed the government.

It must be said that through the Ministry of Finance, an effective and complete project was prepared to deal with the financial crisis. But, the events of October 12th, 2015 and those that followed prevented the Minister of Finance from executing his project. Once more, we insist on the effectiveness of the said project presented to the government for the purpose of solving the financial and the economic crises in the Kurdistan Region.

As always, the Gorran Movement has been eagerly looking for an acceptable solution to by pass the never-ending crises initiated by this incapable government. Therefore, as our patriotic and national duties during this sensitive situation, we offer two political and economic projects for the general public and those whom it may concern as a way out of the crises.

In the economic project, we provide two solutions: the first is a short-term solution for the current crisis titled “The Solution for the Financial Crisis”, and the second one is a long-term solution titled “The Solution For the Economic Crisis”, to be released on a later date.

Solving the Current Political Crisis in the Kurdistan Region

In order to re-install legitimacy to the Kurdistan Region’s institutions and overcome the stalled political situation, the following steps must be taken:

  1. The immediate return of the Chairman of the Parliament to his post and the empowerment of the parliament to perform its due responsibilities.
  2. Returning the vital issues to the Kurdistan Parliament for the purpose of debating and finding a proper solution for each one of them as following:

(a). The Regional Presidency Issue: By supporting the four parliamentary block’s joint project that insists on the political system of Kurdistan as a parliamentary democratic system in which the regional president is to be elected within the parliament. This requires amending the Law of the Regional Presidency, which has passed its first reading by the agreement between the parliamentary blocks that are representatives of the people of Kurdistan and their political formations.
(b). The Constitutional Issue: The committee of writing the constitution for Kurdistan-Iraq has to be reactivated and perform its duties in accordance with subsection (a) above for which it must constitutionally clarify in the Law of the regional presidency that it fully represents a parliamentary democratic system.
(c). The Government Issue: Evaluating the regional government’s performance, inquiring its role in the financial crisis, and making a decision on whether to withdraw confidence from the Eighth Cabinet of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), or replacing, minimising, and reorganising it.

  1. The judicial power must be independent and must prevent political parties and politicians from interfering with its affairs so that it preserves the roles and the functional balances needed for the statutes of the solicitor general, anti-corruption commission, and the office of the financial inspector.
  2. A true and balancing partnership in power to be the norm of conduct in accordance with the current political equation in the Kurdistan Region where shares from the parliamentary as well as the provincial elections must be vertically and horizontally executed within two months.
  3. Institutionalising and eliminating remnants of dual governance as well as reforming all functions of power (e.g. regional presidency, ministries, and other governing institutions).
  4. The immediate execution of the provincial decentralisation policy in the sectors of administration and financing.
  5. For the purpose of preventing any parties and political entities monopolising influence over the capital of the Kurdistan Region, the protection and the security of Erbil and its institutions must be given to a patriotic police force.
  6. Referendum is a patriotic and not a party politics matter. Therefore, the decision and the legal procedures for this matter must be drawn up by the Kurdistan Parliament that has to take due diligence in order to hold the referendum on the Kurdistan independency by the end of year 2016.
  7. Kurdistan Region’s primary source of income is from oil and gas, both of which are forming a terribly non-transparent issue. Therefore, we are readily available to present a comprehensive financial and economic project that will resolve the financial crisis in both short and long terms.
  8. Attaining an unequivocal guarantee both politically and legally to prevent the occurrence of destabilising the political and democratic situation in Kurdistan. Hence, a law must be passed by the Parliament to forbid and criminalise such exertions so that no laws are violated and no legitimacy is aborted.

The patriotic, national, and regional relations: All political forces and entities in Kurdistan Region must collectively design an action program to:

  1. Form strong ties with other parts of Kurdistan based on the higher national interest, cooperation, and coordinated support for each other, where respecting the particulars of each other and non-interference in their affairs be the fundamental norm.
  2. Agree on a joint Independent Kurdistan strategy to develop a balanced relation by the Kurdistan Regional Government with the central government and the regional as well as the international governments from the perspective of Kurdistan’s national security interest, with which the Kurd be a player and not a played-by.

Solving the Current Financial Crisis in Kurdistan Region

The intended outcome of this project is to find a quick and immediate financial source for the purpose of returning peoples’ legitimate rights to get back their basic rights, which are their entitled salaries, as following:

  1. The return of the illegitimately accumulated wealth held by senior political figures, government officials, political companies, executives, partners, and shareholders from the foreign banks to the Ministry of Finance.
  2. The immediate return of bonuses received from oil and gas contracts to the regional government as they have been reported in the media by high ranking regional officials and in documents before hands, to be in the amount of a few billion dollars.
  3. The removal of the Minister of Natural Resources along with his staff and keep them away from the sectors of oil and gas in the region, as well as initiating inquiries with members of the Regional Higher Commission for Oil and Gas starting from their earliest responsibilities of producing these commodities to the present time.
  4. Validating the amounts of funds deposited into the foreign accounts held by the Ministry of Natural Resources and transferring them into an account to be opened by the Ministry of Finance with a reliable bank. Then, closing all those questionable accounts.
  5. Revealing the monthly amounts of oil sales along with their revenues and depositing the earnings with the Minister of Finance. This includes returning earnings from oil and gas and their related products sold by tankers which have not been added to the region’s [annual] gross budgets, starting from 2004 until 2014.
  6. Returning the ownerships and the earnings of both Kalak and Bazyan refineries to the region’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, both of which were initially and mostly established by the federal Ministry of Industry and their titles were transferred to the KRG and not party owned companies (e.g. Kar and Nokan). This is not to deny any rights held by private companies that have invested in the completions of these refineries.
  7. Declaring the amounts of earnings generated by selling (LPG and NAFTA) products extracted from the Kormor field that the Ministry of Natural Resources have been selling for years to companies owned and shared by officials. Earnings generated from these products should have been given to Dana Gas Company for its cost of doing business, which resulted in claiming and winning over two billions and one hundred million dollars in compensations to be paid by the KRG.
  8. Transferring all oil earnings from the Kurdistan International Bank to the KRG’s domestic banks; and, disallowing the monopoly of a single bank in exchanging dollar for dinar.
  9. Revoking any contract held by companies that are owned and/or shared by officials who are in the business of transporting and providing security services for the oil and gas fields. The transporting permissions has to be issued through fair competitions. As for providing oil and gas security services, which are currently monopolised by most officials and their sons, they need to be given back to the Ministry of Interior from which it can generate a good level of earnings for the government.
  10. The immediate collections of government debts owed by the private sector companies, which is estimated at more than seven hundred million dollars.
  11. The immediate revocations of illegal tax and custom due pardons issued to trading companies that are owned by political parties and/or officials.
  12. The collection of monies owed by Korek Telecom, which is a company owned by the KDP, for costs of operational permits which were deducted by Baghdad from the fiscal budgets of the region during the years of 2008 through 2014. These monies belong to the Kurdish people and are estimated to be a few hundred million dollars.
  13. The immediate revocations of all contracts signed with companies involved in inspections (Sonars), land transportations (manifestations), insurances, etc. at the border-crossings. This is because all these companies are owned by political parties, and their titles and ownerships should be transferred to their respective ministries and reorganising them legally.
  14. The revocations of cargo and airport services at both Erbil and Suleimania international airports that are operated by two companies owned by the KDP and the PUK respectively without and legally binding competitions.