Prime Minister Masrour Barzani in a ceremony on Monday officially inaugurated the independent administration of Zakho, saying the devolution of powers will contribute in providing more services and facilities to the people of the area.
“We are here today in fulfillment of the promise we made to President Masoud Barzani to declare Zakho as an independent administration and inaugurate its head,” Barzani said during the ceremony.
Zakho, which sits on Duhok’s northern border with Turkey, is one of the main gates of the Kurdistan Region, he added.
The Zakho administration consists of Zakho and Batifa districts. Barzani officially handed greater powers to the area last week as a part of his cabinet’s decentralization process.
“The new administration in Zakho must provide all forms of services to citizens, and we all must be at the service of our people, as it is our responsibility,” he said on Monday.
Guhdar Shekho, an official from the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) was named head of the administration.
Interior Minister Rebar Ahmed was also at the ceremony and he explained that several ministry directorates will be opened in Zakho. “I ask of the new administration, the Duhok governor, and the people of the area to work together, and ask all political sides to help this administration start its work,” he said.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) announced the decision to devolve powers to Soran and Zakho on July 28. The goal is to improve service delivery. Decentralization had already begun in Soran as government offices like passport, citizenship and traffic police are independent of Erbil.
Soran and Zakho are the first independent administrations in Erbil and Duhok provinces, but Sulaimani has led the way with devolution of powers to Raparin and Garmiyan. There have been calls for decentralization in the Region for years and some in Sulaimani calling for full independence.
In its agenda for this cabinet, the KRG said it “will emphasize establishing a decentralised system of power compatible with the legal and administrative system in the KRG.”