ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Erbil received $8.4 million from Baghdad on Saturday for Peshmerga salaries, Iraq’s deputy finance minister said.
Fazil Nabi told Rudaw that the money was part of an agreement between Kurdish President Masoud Barzani and Iraq’s federal government in September.
The money arrives as Peshmerga forces and the Iraqi Army are fighting alongside for the first time in the offensive to evict ISIS from Mosul.
“The 10 billion Iraqi dinars ($8.4 million) have been sent by the Iraqi Defense Ministry as part of an earlier agreement between Baghdad and Erbil for the Kurdistan Peshmerga Force and the money arrived in Erbil today,” Nabi said.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi arrived on an unannounced visit to Erbil late Saturday, after visiting frontlines in the Mosul offensive.
Analysts say that the dispatch of the funds that arrived Saturday is a goodwill gesture by Baghdad, which wants to show its gratitude to the Peshmerga for their part in the Mosul offensive, which began Oct. 16.
Barzani was in Baghdad on Sept. 29 to discuss the funds that the central government has withheld since early 2014. According to the Iraqi constitution the Kurdistan Region is entitled to 17 percent of the national budget, which Baghdad has consistently refused to pay for more than two years.
The cut in funds has been among the biggest reasons for a severe financial crisis in the Kurdistan Region, where the government has been unable to pay the full salaries of the Peshmerga and civil servants.