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Committees' recent meetings - 13 January 2021

A summary of Kurdistan Parliament's committees' recent meetings and activities:

Finance and Economic Affairs Committee

11 January - The committee, led by the chair Ziyad Jabbar (PUK), met with Dr. Kamal Taib, Director General of taxes and property at the KRG Ministry of Finance and Economy.

Chair Jabbar asked about the KRG Ministry of Finance’s newest tax measures and regulations, and emphasized that they should not adversely affect ordinary citizens.

The meeting discussed fairness in the tax laws and regulations so that it does not harm the average person’s income and means, and the need to reorganize taxation rather than generally increase it. They also emphasized the transparency of tax receipts.

Dr. Taib highlighted the steps taken to levy taxes from companies. Those that have failed to pay their taxes and the need to take measures against them were discussed, including those companies that have been taken to court.

Taxation on private cars was also discussed. The committee suggested that taxes should be levied only on expensive cars.

On the issue of taxing oil companies, the meeting emphasized the need to ensure fairness and justice.

The committee and Director General Taib said that amendments to the Investment Law are urgently needed, as the law has been used by investors to avoid paying taxes.

Afterwards the committee and Director General Taib held a press conference about their meeting.

Culture, Civil Society, Sports and Youth Committee

11 January - The committee led by the chair Salma Fatih (PUK), welcomed Azad Hama Amin, the head of the Kurdistan Journalists Syndicate, and the staff of the syndicate.

Chair Fatih explained the state of journalism in Kurdistan and the challenges facing the media. She asserted that the committee supports freedom of expression and the professionalisation of journalism.

The head of the syndicate Mr. Amin talked about the need to co-ordinate on and pass a new law that supports the media and journalists’ rights.

The committee and the syndicate both stressed the need to have a direct relationship. Ms. Fatih said that the committee is ready to make amendments to relevant laws if needed, or to prepare new legislation on journalism.

12 January - The committee, led by the chair Salma Fatih (PUK), held their regular meeting.

The MPs discussed preparing a bill on sports in Kurdistan Region. The committee decided that a law is needed after looking into the problems among sports unions, teams and groups. They decided to meet with the KRG Ministry of Youth and Culture and other relevant parties to get their views on the bill over the next 15 days.

The committee is holding a workshop on 13 January with representatives of civil society organisations, to understand the challenges that they face. They decided to prepare a detailed report to present at a Parliament sitting, of recommendations to solve the problems in the civil society sector.

Energy, Natural Resources, Commerce and Industry 

12 January – The committee, led by the chair Ali Hama Salih (Change), held their regular meeting.

They discussed the importance of oil refineries in Kurdistan Region for meeting local needs and ensuring that they provide quality and value for money.

Kurdistan Region’s refineries are now capable of refining 160,000 barrels of oil a day, so Kurdistan should take full advantage of them, the MPs said. The committee decided to send a report on the capacity of Kurdistan Region’s refineries to meet local needs to the KRG Council of Ministers.  

Health, Environment and Consumer Rights Committee

11 January - The Committee, led by the chair Dr. Sabah Zebari (KDP), held their regular meeting.

MP Zana Mala Khalid (KDP), chair of the medicines sub-committee, briefed the MPs on their visit to the medicines quality control department. MP Bakhtiyar Shukri (KDP), chair of the consumer rights sub-committee, gave a brief on their visits to look into food standards and prices of goods.

The committee discussed the environmental problems in Kurdistan Region and they decided to meet soon with the head of the Environmental Protection and Improvement Board and discuss the environmental situation in the Kurdistan Region.

All the notes and requests sent to the committee were read, and after review and discussion they were sent to the relevant authorities for action.

Protection of Women's Rights Committee

12 January - The Committee, led by chair Lanja Dizayee (KDP), decided to hold a meeting with the High Council on Women’s Affairs on the issue of developing and supporting gender policies in the Kurdistan Regional Government ministries. The committee also discussed their work plan for 2021.

Endowments and Religious Affairs Committee

12 January - The Committee, led by the vice-chair Mala Ihsan Rekani (KDP), visited the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs of the Kurdistan Region and were welcomed by the Minister Dr. Pshtiwan Sadq.

The committee and the Minister discussed the state of religious co-existence and inter-faith relations in the Kurdistan Region, especially how these issues are treated in the Friday sermon and other religious speeches, on the basis of the government’s decisions and recommendations.

The committee said that they have asked the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research to give certificates that equalize religious students’ studies with other subjects, so that they can be accepted as fulfilling criteria for further study.

The meeting also discussed creating a policy on awarding academic titles and academic awards of Masters and Doctorate to religious scholars. Minister Sadq expressed his full support for solving those problems.

The MPs and Minister Sadq agreed on the committee and the ministry working together to spread the culture of peaceful co-existence in Kurdistan Region.

Municipalities, Transport, Communication, Travel and Tourism Committee

12 January - The committee, led by the chair Luqman Wardy (PUK), held their regular meeting.

The MPs reviewed in detail all the articles of the Bill on Conservation of Water Networks and Water Resources in Kurdistan Region - Iraq. They sent their report on the bill to Parliament’s Presidency, so that the bill can be scheduled for its second reading at a sitting.

The bill currently consists of 26 articles.

The committee then turned to the tourism sector and their efforts to draft a bill to regulate it. The MPs decided to hold a meeting with the Head of the Kurdistan Tourism Board and general directors soon.