ERBIL-Hewler, Kurdistan region ‘Iraq’,— Iraqi Kurdistan Region’s finance minister has not transferred money from Turkish Halk Bank to Erbil after finding the government’s accounts empty, a Kurdish official said on Sunday.
Head of Parliament’s Finance Committee Izat Sabir told NRT that Minister Rebaz Mohammed Abdullah was in Turkey last week to conduct the transfer of funds earned from independent oil sales and meet with officials, including Halk Bank Director-General Ali Fuat.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Council of Ministers gave authority to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs in June to transfer oil money from international banks back to the region.
Speaking on NRT’s Tawtwe program, Finance and Economic Affairs Committee Deputy Ali Hama Salih said the KRG account at Halk Bank has been empty for over four months.
“The finance minister just renewed the KRG account at Halk Bank in Turkey, and no oil money was in the account,” Salih said.
The region’s Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) released its August report on Thursday, stating exports reached an average of 472,832 barrels per day (bpd) during the month.
Total exports for the month were listed at 14,657,798 barrels, of which 10,958,817 barrels came from fields operated by the KRG. Fields operated by the North Oil Company (NOC) supplied the remaining 3,698,981 barrels.
Independent oil sales continued in August, “to compensate the Region for the budget shortfalls from the federal government in Baghdad and to continue to pay down debts accumulated in 2014 from pre-payments for direct oil sales,” the MNR statement said.
MNR Minister Ashti Hawrami told NRT on August 24 the KRG began independently selling oil in June and that is had lost $500 million due to attacks inside Turkey on the Kurdistan-Ceyhan pipeline.
In 2013 and according to sources the KRG has backed down from using Turkey’s Halkbank as a mediator for transfers in a deal made for oil exports with Turkey.