(Adds budget details)
BAGHDAD Dec 7 Iraq's parliament approved the
2017 budget on Wednesday, lawmakers said, but a member of the
Kurdish KDP said his party stayed away from the vote and
differences between Baghdad and Kurdish authorities in the north
had yet to be resolved.
A copy of the budget document said it was based on
projections of an oil price of $42 per barrel and exports of
3.75 million barrels per day (bpd), including 250,000 bpd from
oilfields in the Kurdish controlled region.
The deficit was forecast at 21.7 trillion dinars ($19
billion), with expenditure of 100.7 trillion dinars, about 6
percent lower than this year's projected spending.
"We were not present at today's session. We had objections
from the beginning and we think today's budget does not meet our
demands," Ahmed Muhsin al-Sadoun, head of the KDP parliamentary
bloc, told Reuters.
"Passing the budget today has not resolved the disputed
issues between the central government and the Kurdish region,
including oil exports," he said.
The budget also failed to allocate enough money for salaries
of state workers and peshmerga fighters in the Kurdish
autonomous area, Sadoun said. "It doesn't even meet half of what
Current and former Iraqi central governments have said the
Kurds have failed to respect deals to transfer agreed volumes of
oil produced from oilfields in areas they control to Baghdad.
Kurdistan is entitled to 17 percent of Iraq's overall
budget, and Kurdish politicians say it needs stable revenues to
pay its bills, support hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing
the war with Islamic State and finance peshmerga forces.
Failure to reach a deal on a festering dispute over oil
cargos exported independently by Kurdish authorities could
further complicate Iraq's efforts to boost output and maximize
oil revenues desperately needed to bridge the budget deficit.
"Now the government must find a way to reach agreement with
the government of the Kurdish regional authorities," Sadoun
($1 = 1,162.0000 Iraqi dinars)
(Reporting by Hameed Saif and Ahmed Rasheed; editing by Jason
Neely and Susan Fenton)