Following the Kurdistan Parliament’s approval of the regional budget for 2011, Prime Minister Salih’s cabinet met on Tuesday 31 May to discuss distributing the budget efficiently and quickly in order to best serve the people of the Kurdistan Region. The meeting was co-chaired by Prime Minister Salih and Acting Deputy Prime Minister, Karim Sinjari.
The Kurdistan Parliament, earlier on Tuesday, passed the budget with a majority of 68 votes for, with 25 votes against, in the 111-member body. The Kurdistan Parliament had previously held 11 sessions in order to discuss the 2011 budget bill before getting it approved at the 12th session.
In an effort to expedite the implementation of the budget, Prime Minister Salih called the meeting with the Council of Ministers a few hours later to talk about its details and how to meet the most immediate needs that it addresses. Prime Minister Salih said, “It is vital for all the ministries to spend their newly allocated budgets quickly and competently to produce a better quality of life for every citizen living in the Kurdistan Region.”
He also urged the quick implementation of public service projects. “These include projects to improve healthcare, education, pensions, water resources, and low cost housing,” he said. He praised the passage of the budget, saying that it would allow many projects to be completed very soon, but he also acknowledged that completion of some projects will come sooner than others due to physical limitations.
The Prime Minister commended the concerted efforts being made to calm recent tensions in the Kurdistan Region, and specifically noted parliament’s agreement to decrease the salary of senior members of the KRG, including the Prime Minister, the Council of Ministers, and other senior officials, by ten percent.
Dr Salih also spoke of his hopes to speed up reconciliation with the Opposition by organizing a meeting of all five Kurdish political parties at the Kurdistan Parliament on Saturday 4 June. “These efforts represent parts of the reform plans laid out by the Kurdistan Regional Government to address the legitimate concerns that have been voiced by the people,” he said.