ERBIL — Despite different challenges faced by the Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) ninth cabinet, efforts are ongoing to diversify the economy and increase non-oil revenues, PM Masrour Barzani said on Thursday.
The prime minister made the remarks during a visit to the Ministry of Finance and Economy, where he supervised a special ministry meeting in the presence of its minister, undersecretary, advisors, and general managers.
During the meeting, Minister of Finance and Economy, Awat Sheikh Janab, briefed Prime Minister Barzani about the ministry's people and departments, activities, plans, projects, as well as work, a KRG statement said.
PM Barzani noted that "we did not stop reform, regulating local imports and reducing spending," despite the various challenges faced by his government.
"We achieved success and managed ourselves without resorting to borrowing so as not to impose any burden on future generations," he added.
As part of ongoing reforms, Prime Minister Barzani noted, unnecessary government spending was reduced from $200 million to $70 million, explaining that the $130 million saved was returned to the public treasury without obstructing the government's work.
Meanwhile, the prime minister pointed out that revenues have improved lately and that there could be even higher due to the KRG's reform program aiming at diversifying the economy and increasing non-oil revenues.
No new taxes were imposed by the ninth cabinet, PM Barzani said, clarifying that all his government did was apply existing tax laws that had not been implemented in the past, noting that the implementation of the laws is in the interest of citizens as it will help improve revenues.
He further stressed the importance of reforming the banking system in the region and digitalizing government services, expenditures, and revenues, viewing it as an essential step towards transparency.