International Development Bank

Eight bank joins KRG My Account initiative

ERBIL – The Kurdistan Regional Government’s Ministry of Finance announced Thursday that the Iraq-based International Development Bank has joined the “My Account” project as the eighth participating bank. The project aims to facilitate digital payments for public-sector employees and beneficiaries.

The ministry stated that the inclusion of the IDB brings the total number of participating banks to eight, including the Iraqi Islamic Bank, BBAC, Cihan, NBI, Bank of Baghdad, and RT.

Recently, the Trade Bank of Iraq became the seventh bank to join the project. It is expected that more banks will join the project in the future.

The IDB, established in 2011, operates 25 branches across Iraq, including in Erbil, Sulaymaniyah, Duhok, and Kirkuk.

My Account, the government’s flagship  financial inclusion project, aims to digitalize the salary distribution process for over one million public sector employees, a process that began in September 2023.

The initiative promises that by year-end, all Kurdistan Region public sector employees will have active bank accounts.

“My Account 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.

However, many Kurdistan Region residents are skeptical of the viability of such a scheme amidst a multi-year economic crisis and long stretches without receiving salary payments. There have been several protests in Sulaymaniyah and Halabja governorates to voice opposition to the My Account project, advocating for their salaries to be managed through Iraqi banks instead.

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

The verdict was viewed by many as another setback to the Kurdistan Region’s autonomy, further centralizing control over its fiscal operations under the federal government of Iraq. It follows a history of disputes between Baghdad and Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan, over budget allocations, oil revenues, and independence efforts.