By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 8 May:
In the officially released summary of the most recent (18th) Ordinary Meeting of Libya’s Cabinet, held on . . .[restrict]Wednesday 2 May in Tripoli, a series of discussions and decisions took place.
These included the issues of safety and security, decentralization, the Warrior Affairs Authority, war wounded compensation, building damage compensation, payments fraud, national reconciliation, fake Libyan citizenship, the Benghazi Medical Hospital, the Audit Bureau and armed demonstrations.
However, the topic that seemed to engage the Cabinet the most was the issue of the fast approaching 19 June elections.
Safety and security of key areas and elections
The Prime Minister, Abdurrahim Al-Kib, revealed to his Cabinet the discussions he had had in his meeting with the Interior Minister. During this meeting, a programme for the protection of key and sensitive areas was reviewed. This included the necessary steps to be taken to ensure the security of all Libya’s national border points, embassies and ministries, as well as the security of the election process.
It was agreed to coordinate with the Undersecretary of Interior to consolidate the role of the Supreme Security Committee in the election process in view of weaknesses in local/regional security apparatuses.
The First Deputy Prime Minister made a presentation regarding measures taken to ensure the success of the forthcoming elections and the capabilities that were presented by various ministries charged with supporting the High National Election Commission – HNEC (www.hnec.ly) in its efforts to execute free and transparent elections for the first time after more than four decades.
Six states accredited for elections
It was decided that a meeting was to be set up with the head of the HNEC to understand why only 6 states were accredited for the possible participation of Libyan citizens there in the forthcoming elections.
Political Parties Law passed
The Minister of Justice announced that the NTC had passed the law for political parties and that a workshop on the elections was held at the High Institute of Judges.
Election Awareness Campaign
The Minister of Culture and NGOs informed that the relevant and interested parties had not approved the specific media awareness material for the elections, but that the Ministry of Culture and NGOs will create and publicize programmes to ensure election awareness.
Dissenting voice on elections process!
It was left for the Minister of Foreign Affairs, as revealed by the officially released summary of the Cabinet meeting, to question whether 2 weeks for registration for the elections were sufficient in a state that has not had elections for over 40 years and felt that the HNEC should consult over this point.
The First Deputy PM referred to a number of points with this regard that need follow up such as the issue of Libyans that were granted citizenship by the former regime on some of the border regions, and the need to find a solution to this issue. He called for cooperation with the NTC between the Minister of Local Government, the Minister of Justice and Minister of Interior on seeking possible solutions for this issue.
Evidence of administrative decentralization
The Prime Minister also reviewed the visit he conducted with his accompanying delegation to Benghazi for the opening of a branch of the Prime Minister’s office. The Prime Minister also referred to the fact that his Third Deputy is in the process of opening a similar office in Sabha.
He stressed the need to activate these offices and the need for members of the government to take turns in being present there. The Deputy Prime Ministers were charged with drafting a proposal for such a scenario.
Warriors Affairs Authority
Al-Kib encouraged all his ministries to cooperate with the Warriors Affairs Authority and to offer them support where possible in their national programme to support former thuwar, as well as taking advantage of the database that the authority had created in national interest projects.
The NTC asks for clarifications
Prime Minister Al-Kib revealed that the National Transitional Council (NTC) had made enquiries about various topics.
Regarding the enquiry about the treatment of the war wounded, the Prime Minister charged the Second and Third Deputy Prime Ministers and the Minister of Health with updating the NTC on the latest developments on this subject.
With regards to the NTC enquiries on the topic of National Reconciliation, Al-Kib charged the First Deputy PM, the Minister of Justice and Minister of Interior to prepare the necessary responses.
Benghazi Medical Hospital project
The Second Deputy Prime Minister reviewed the meeting, which took place between him and the Chairman of the Audit Bureau and the Minister of Health, discussing the subject of the non-signing of the implementation contract of the second phase of the Benghazi Medical Hospital project with a French company.
The administrative obstacles, which were given as the reason for this delay, were discussed, and the Second Deputy PM stressed that the discussions were meaningful, dealing with all the sticking points and that as a result, the contract will be signed shortly, as agreed with the Chairman of the Audit Bureau.
Review of war wounded care in Jordan
The Third Deputy PM confirmed that the committee formed by the Cabinet to review the administrative and financial procedures specifically of the medical care of the war wounded in Jordan, had travelled to Jordan and that he would also be joining it.
Audit Bureau to investigate payment abuses
The Cabinet discussed the formation of a committee from the Audit Bureau to investigate the abuses in the process of the disbursement of the financial payments to the thuwar with the Military Accounts Department of the Ministry of Defence.
They stressed that the amounts that were disbursed exceeded what was reasonable and that this had sapped a lot of public money. The Cabinet felt that all those who contributed to this waste of public money should be held accountable. This was money that all Libyans have a right to receive their share of in accordance with the laws of the state in force, the Cabinet felt.
The Minister of Housing and Infrastructure for his part felt that the amounts of money disbursed should be referred to the local councils for cross-checking on their part to discover those that have received more than one payment, and that this should then be publicized through the media in advance of legal procedures.
The Third Deputy PM stressed the need to have access to the lists that were used to disburse these payments to the thuwar.
Armed demonstration at AGOCO
The Minister of Oil and Gas reviewed the demonstration taking part at the Arabian Gulf Oil Company (AGOCO) by armed groups, not employed by the company. This has affected AGOCO’s operations and its employees negatively. The employees have not been able to carry out their duties in this atmosphere of insecurity. He felt that solving this problem was a communal responsibility of all Libyan society.
Compensation for prisoners
The Cabinet discussed the proposal by the Minister of Justice of 24 April 2012 for raising the amount of compensation for political prisoners and decided to postpone discussions in this matter until the elections of the National General Assembly and the elections of the subsequent government or until the NTC issues a law regarding this issue.
Spare parts, operation, servicing and training for Medical sector
The Cabinet approved the written proposal presented by the Minister of Health (without giving any further details, names of projects, hospitals or locations) for the operation and servicing of ‘electromechanical’ and the maintenance of medical and civil works, and the import of spare parts and training – on the bases that purchasing is conducted through specialist companies via public tenders.
Transfer of research and technology centers to Ministry of Education
The Cabinet approved the transfer of some research and technology centers to the Ministry of Education and Scientific Research.
The cabinet also approved the transfer of the Traditional Handicrafts Department to the Ministry of Industry.
War Damaged Building Compensation
The Cabinet approved the price estimates for compensation for buildings damaged as a result of the war effort after the Minister of Housing and Infrastructure presented the mechanism upon which the estimates were based, and after providing adequate guarantees that there would be no abuse of public monies during the process of payment.
Hospital and Housing Project to restart
Permission was granted by the Cabinet to the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure to recommence the execution of the Kufra Hospital and the housing units in al-Guba.
No objection to investment projects
The Cabinet confirmed that there were no objections to the opening of the opportunity for investment in Libya for both local and foreign investors, in so far as it serves the national interest, and within the operating conditions. [/restrict]