by Sami Zaptia
The Libya Herald has reported that during a meeting of Libya’s Transitional Government Cabinet on Tuesday, 29 February 1012, . . .[restrict]the budget for the year 2012 totaling some LD 68.5 billion (US$ 55 bn) was discussed and approved. It was then sent to the NTC for ratification.
An earlier announcement by NTC head Mustafa Abdul Jalil stated that Libya would have a budget deficit of LD 10 billion in 2012. He also said that Libya was struggling to meet its outstanding commitments in public wages, essential services and energy subsidies. Civil servants’ salaries he estimated at $ 22 billion and fuel and electricity subsidies he put at US$ 14 billion per year.
He also maintained that Libya had only received about $6 billion from its frozen assets abroad, and that oil production had only brought in US$ 4 billion in the last five months.
Contrasting figures have been released regarding Libya’s anticipated 2012 budget by the Central Bank Governor – LD 7 billion – and Mustafa Abdul Jalil – LD 10 billion.
In a related development, this week Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) declared that oil production was up to 1.4 million barrels per day.
It is not clear if revenue earned from these oil exports is being paid directly into accounts that the current Libyan authorities have total control over, or whether these revenues are available in full to the NTC and interim government to spend.
Libyans await the release of the details of the 2012 budget, which were still not available as of Thursday 1st March.