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Iraqi Parliament bans finance minister from traveling

Category: Iraq News

Date: 2022-02-19T09:32:27+0000
Iraqi Parliament bans finance minister from traveling

Shafaq News/ Iraq's legislative body convened on Saturday to discuss the status of the US dollar exchange rate against the local currency amid a boycott by the Ministry of Finance. 

The meeting chaired by Deputy Parliament Speaker, Hakem al-Zameli, was attended by the governor of the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI), Mustafa Ghaleb Makhif, along with his deputy and a group of CBI executives.

Neither Minister of Finance Ali Abdul-Amir Allawi nor representatives from his ministry attended the session, according to Shafaq News Agency correspondent.

Al-Zameli said in thr session's inauguration speech that Minister Allawi will be questioned for not appearing before the Parliament, indicating that the meeting was intended to discuss the financial and monetary challenges facing the country.

"We were surprised that the Finance Minister did not show up to the meeting," he said, "some leaders contacted us asking to temporize the issue of the Minister. If we did not exercise our oversight role now, the parliament will never do, and no Minister would be summoned again."

"We heard that the Minister is considering resignation. It is his right. Still, there are files to be discussed. MPs signed a request to summon him."

"Even if he resigned, he will not escape accountability. We have documents that incriminate him," he said, "until he appears before the parliament, we will issue a travel ban against him."

On Thursday, the Iraqi Parliament Presidium summoned Minister of Finance, Ali Abdul-Amir Allawi, and the Governor of Iraq's Central Bank, Mustafa Ghaleb Makhif, to appear before it for questioning.

The decision was taken in response to recommendations made by the leader of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, a statement of the Parliament's Presidium said.

Al-Sadr on Thursday cracked a list of recommendations he believes it might contribute to leaching the valotile exchange rate of the U.S. dollar against the Iraqi dinar.

The hand-written list shared by the firebrand Shiite cleric included summoning the minister of finance and the governor of the Central Bank of Iraq "Immediately". 

Al-Sadr called for halting currency smuggling by force, organizing and centralizing the currency market, and enacting laws that boost the national currency. 

The Sadrist leader called for scrutinizing the activity of some banks that belong to "persons controlling the currency like al-Sharq al-Awsat (the Middle East), al-Qabedh, and al-Ansari, and other private banks," and "dealing firmly with the banks affiliated with some political parties controlling the people and the land."

Earlier on Wednesday, al-Sadr said in a tweet that the Iraqi citizens shall not be burdened by the downsides of the dinar devaluation, calling on the Iraqi government to take firm steps to curb the rise of prices. 

"Raising the exchange rate of the dollar, regardless of its upsides and downsides, shall not bring the prices of the commodities, particularly the basic ones, higher," al-Sadr tweeted. 

Al-Sadr called for holding the traders who tamper with the prices of the goods accountable, "particularly, with the holy month of Ramadan around the corner."

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