Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Yesterday, a pivotal meeting convened at the office of the Governor of the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) to oversee government spending for the year 2024. Against the backdrop of political disunity in Libya, characterized by the division between the Tripoli-based government and the Benghazi-based parliament (the House of Representatives – HoR), this meeting represents a crucial step towards establishing an annual state budget for 2024.

The attendees included Tripoli-based Libyan Prime Minister, Abd Alhamid Aldabaiba, Chairman of the Presidential Council, Mohamed Al-Menfi, Governor of the Central Bank, Al-Siddiq Al-Kabir, Minister of Transport, Mohamed Al-Shahubi, Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs, Adel Jumaa, and the Director of the Central Bank of Libya Supervision of Cash Department, Naji Issa.

Central to the discussion was the issue of government spending controls for 2024, with particular emphasis on regulating the funds allocated for fuel subsidies, including derivatives for the General Electricity Company of Libya (GECOL) or distribution companies. In 2023, these subsidies amounted to over 40 billion dinars, significantly straining the general budget.

The participants underscored the importance of implementing robust controls to manage public spending effectively. They emphasized the need to improve citizens’ living conditions and focus on comprehensive development programs across Libya.

Additionally, the meeting addressed the imperative of transparency in disclosing all government expenditures within budget sections. There was a call to closely monitor the committee tasked with exploring alternatives to fuel subsidies and determining actual needs, given the significance of this issue.

Governor Al-Kabir highlighted the balance of documentary credits through commercial banks, amounting to 4 billion dinars, designated for supplying food essentials during the holy month of Ramadan. He stressed the importance of coordinated efforts with the Ministry of Economy and Trade and the Municipal Guard to prevent hoarding and price gouging during Ramadan.

The underlying tension between the Aldabaiba government and Governor Al-Kabir regarding spending decisions was evident. The presence of Presidential Council head, Mohamed Al-Menfi, signified efforts to mediate and find common ground to prevent political instability.

Governor Al-Kabir, acting as the custodian of Libya’s finances, advocates for fiscal prudence and revenue-generating initiatives to sustainably address economic challenges. However, Prime Minister Aldabaiba’s spending preferences, coupled with reluctance to implement unpopular policies, pose significant challenges.

The debate over subsidies, oil production, and overall spending underscores the delicate balance between sustaining Libya’s financial stability and meeting societal demands. As Libya grapples with these complex economic dynamics, the collaboration and negotiation among its political leaders remain pivotal for navigating the nation’s future course.

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