By Sami Zaptia
Confusion reigns as to how and when payments promised to every Libyan to mark the revolution’s outbreak will . . .[restrict]be made.
The Central Bank of Libya (CBL) released a press statement Monday, 20 February, about a meeting of top management chaired by Governor Saddek Elkaber the day before. Its agenda was to discuss “the means by which Law No. 10, 2012, enacted by the NTC regarding financial payments to Libyan families can be implemented”.
This is the law that the National Transitional Council passed on the occasion of the first anniversary of the 17 February Revolution, to distribute LD 2,000 ($1,500) to every Libyan husband and wife and LD 200 for every unmarried Libyan listed in their Family Identity Book.
The press statement asserted that during this meeting “numerous important facts became clear which must be taken into consideration when implementing this law in realization of the ideals of transparency and enlightening public opinion with this regard.”
It then went on to list these as the presence of forgeries in the old blue-coloured Family Identity Books and the fact that 30 percent of the new green coloured family books have yet to be issued. In addition, the National Unified Number Project to list all 2.2 million family heads, has currently reached 480,000 or 40 percent of the target.
The meeting then concluded that there was a need to ‘”deposit the amount intended for distribution to Libyan families as per :aw No. 10, 2012, as soon as possible, and in a manner that guarantees transparency in the CBL”.
This press release seemed to indicate quite clearly that there exists a tension between Libya’s executive and legislative bodies – a point that was highlighted by Libya Herald’s exclusive interview with Mahmoud Jibril on 17 February.
The CBL press statement immediately caused concern that the CBL is preparing the ground for the NTC to renege on its decision.
It was not surprising therefore that the CBL quickly posted another press release on the government’s official website in which the governor “assured the commitment to the implementation of the NTC decision as soon as possible.” The enforcement of the law was “only a matter of time”, he stressed, but without defining a time limit.
He went on to say that there were “continuous meetings night and day between the Civic Affairs Authority” and other departments to “discuss” the mechanism of disbursement.
“We are meeting continuously with the relevant committees, and we look forward to developing a practical and transparent program to implement the law, especially since our country suffers from the lack of accurate data bases because of the chaos that was prevalent during the reign of the tyrant”.
Furthermore, the governor explained that “the prescribed sums of money will be deposited in the bank accounts of citizens and that there are instructions to all branches of banks to facilitate the opening of current accounts for citizens” with no bank accounts.
The CBL governor also called upon all Libyans to “deposit in banks the money that they are hoarding outside the banks”.
This he approximated at about LD 15 billion.