MP denounces Minister Allawi's summoning: only government can reverse dinar's devaluation 

MP denounces Minister Allawi's summoning: only government can reverse dinar's devaluation 

Shafaq News/ A member of the State of Law parliamentary bloc on Saturday said that reversing the devaluation of the Iraqi dinar is a prerogative of the Iraqi government solely, dismissing the Finance Minister's summoning as an attempt to discombobulate the Iraqi public opinion.

"The parliament does not have the reference terms to adjust the exchange rate of the U.S. dollar against the Iraqi dinar," Lawmaker Aref al-Hammami told Shafaq News Agency, "Minister Allawi's summoning is an attempt to pin the blame on him, whereas the decision was endorsed by the former parliament and the powerful parties."

"The decision to adjust the exchange rate is exclusive for the Iraqi government. Moreover, it shall be integrated into the budget bill. Otherwise, the exchange rate cannot be changed," he said, "Anything else is far from truth. It is an attempt to befuddle the Iraqi public opinion."

Earlier today, a senior official in the Iraqi Ministry of Finance told Shafaq News Agency that changing the exchange rate of the U.S. dollar against the Iraqi dinar "extremely" unlikely. 

Iraq's Minister of Finance, Ali Abdul-Amir Allawi, on Saturday requested holding a vote of confidence over his Ministry's handling of the financial policies.

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.

In a letter he sent to the Parliament Presidium, Allawi said that he will not be able to attend the session scheduled for today. 

"I will submit an official request to the Parliament for a confidence vote. I will always be ready to cooperate," Allawi said in the letter publicly read by al-Zameli. 

Al-Zameli said in the 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 volatile 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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