Salary crisis

Sulaymaniyah teachers protest My Account banking initiative

SULAYMANIYAH — A number of teachers in Sulaymaniyah protested on Saturday to voice opposition to the Kurdistan Regional Government’s My Account project, advocating for their salaries to be managed through Iraqi banks instead.

The My Account project by the Kurdistan Regional Government is a part of its initiative to transition the Kurdistan Region towards a ‘cashless society’. This project aims to digitize the payroll process for over a million public sector workers to simplify salary collection, enhance financial security, and provide access to various financial services. These services include real-time salary notifications, cash withdrawals from ATMs, a range of financial services, international debit card acceptance, partnership rewards, and improved financial security.

“MyAccount is an ambitious program by the Kurdistan Regional Government to modernize and streamline the way public beneficiaries receive their payrolls and save money,” says the official website.

Though many residents are skeptical of the viability of such a scheme in the midsts of a multi-year cash liquidity crisis and long stretches without receiving salary payments.

Gathering on Salem Street, the teachers marched towards the courthouse to express their demands. One teacher shared with 964media their preference for salary deposits in Iraqi banks over participation in the My Account project, a banking initiative by the Kurdistan Regional Government aimed at civil servants and salaried employees.

Another educator pointed out the unequal treatment compared to officials and retirees associated with Kurdish representation in Baghdad, who receive their payments through Baghdad, underscoring their desire for an alternative to the My Account system for salary processing.

Last month, the Federal Supreme Court ruled Kurdistan Region salaries much be paid directly by Baghdad instead of being paid by the KRG via its share of the federal budget.

In Halabja, a similar protest to that in Sulaymaniyah took place, with teachers and civil servants gathering to support the Federal Court’s rulings on salary disbursements. Starting at Omar Khawar Square and moving through the market to a public park, participants voiced their demands with slogans.

Zanyar Ali, a teacher and protest organizer, told 964media: “The purpose of our protest is to expedite the distribution of salaries. We reject the My Account system and demand that our salaries be directly distributed from Baghdad. We also support the decisions made by the Federal Court in this regard.”

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