Citizens cautiously optimistic

Market bustles as salary payments boost purchasing

SULAYMANIYAH — The Sulaymaniyah market buzzed with activity on April 1st, a welcome change fueled by the arrival of salaries and the excitement of the upcoming al-Fitr Eid. From Piramerd area to the Grand Mosque, streets teemed with people carrying bags filled with purchases, infusing the city with a vibrant energy.

Shamam Ali, a government employee, arrived at the market accompanied by his child, eager to purchase new clothes.

Likewise, teacher Jalal Mohammed joined the throng, setting aside 150,000 Iraqi dinars ($102) for his shopping, a cautious approach reflecting the lingering impact of past financial uncertainties.

“By now, we should have received the salary for March, not just February,” he remarked, voicing a sentiment shared by many.

Rejin Mawlud, a young teacher, couldn’t help but notice the palpable shift in the market’s atmosphere, buoyed by the recent influx of salaries.

“Before, you could see the gloom on people’s faces, but now everyone seems calmer,” she observed, her words echoing amidst the bustling crowds.

Just days ago, a 964 reporter had observed a starkly different scene, with the market eerily quiet, shopkeepers idly passing time on their phones. It had been over fifty days since the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) last distributed salaries, casting a shadow of uncertainty over the market’s vitality.

In Erbil, a 964media reporter delved into the market’s pulse, noting a marked increase in activity compared to previous days.

People flocked to make purchases for the upcoming al-Fitr Eid festivities, invigorated by the recent receipt of salaries. Yet, conversations with shopkeepers revealed an undercurrent of dissatisfaction with the market’s current state.

Two shopkeepers voiced concerns over the prolonged delay in salary payments, lamenting the market’s failure to rebound as expected.

“Everything is expensive, not affordable for the poor, which makes the market slow,” remarked a disheartened customer, highlighting the challenges faced by many.

In contrast, Pirshang Majid, another market visitor, struck a more optimistic tone. “Everything is fine, and not expensive. May God increase our wealth,” she remarked, her words reflecting the diverse range of opinions in the market’s bustling activity.

As April unfolds, KRG employees continue to await their March salaries. Disputes between the KRG and the federal government in Baghdad over the salary distribution mechanism have obstructed payments to KRG employees, pensioners, and social welfare recipients. Emboldened by a recent ruling from the Federal Supreme Court, Baghdad insists on distributing salaries directly through federal banks, while the KRG views this as a violation of its autonomous powers and demands control over salary distributions.

KRG announces long-delayed salaries to finally be paid

KRG announces long-delayed salaries to finally be paid