(Adds budget details)
BAGHDAD, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Iraq’s parliament approved the 2017 budget on Wednesday, lawmakers said, but a member of the Kurdish KDP said his party stayed away from the vote and differences between Baghdad and Kurdish authorities in the north had yet to be resolved.
A copy of the budget document said it was based on projections of an oil price of $42 per barrel and exports of 3.75 million barrels per day (bpd), including 250,000 bpd from oilfields in the Kurdish controlled region.
The deficit was forecast at 21.7 trillion dinars ($19 billion), with expenditure of 100.7 trillion dinars, about 6 percent lower than this year’s projected spending.
“We were not present at today’s session. We had objections from the beginning and we think today’s budget does not meet our demands,” Ahmed Muhsin al-Sadoun, head of the KDP parliamentary bloc, told Reuters.
“Passing the budget today has not resolved the disputed issues between the central government and the Kurdish region, including oil exports,” he said.
The budget also failed to allocate enough money for salaries of state workers and peshmerga fighters in the Kurdish autonomous area, Sadoun said. “It doesn’t even meet half of what is required.”
Current and former Iraqi central governments have said the Kurds have failed to respect deals to transfer agreed volumes of oil produced from oilfields in areas they control to Baghdad.
Kurdistan is entitled to 17 percent of Iraq’s overall budget, and Kurdish politicians say it needs stable revenues to pay its bills, support hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the war with Islamic State and finance peshmerga forces.
Failure to reach a deal on a festering dispute over oil cargos exported independently by Kurdish authorities could further complicate Iraq’s efforts to boost output and maximize oil revenues desperately needed to bridge the budget deficit.
“Now the government must find a way to reach agreement with the government of the Kurdish regional authorities,” Sadoun said. ($1 = 1,162.0000 Iraqi dinars) (Reporting by Hameed Saif and Ahmed Rasheed; editing by Jason Neely and Susan Fenton)
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