Libya Herald exclusive – by Sami Zaptia
Tripoli, 1 May:
‘Lots of projects in every sector’
Last week, a week during which a major . . .[restrict]Libyan oil and gas and infrastructure trade fair took part in Tripoli, Housing and Infrastructure Minister Ibrahim Sigoutri assured a US business delegation that there were ‘lots of projects in every sector’ on offer for investment and for foreign participation.
‘US companies offered quality’
These were vital in his view in order ‘to improve Libyan quality of life’. We believe in quality’, he stressed and he felt that ‘US companies offered quality’. He therefore believed that as a result of this quality ‘US companies will be in the frontline of the execution of Libyan projects’.
‘Libya’s Master Plan lacks updating’
‘Libya’s Master Plan lacks updating and has not been updated since 2000’, he pointed out. ‘We have to utilize all the potential of the country not just oil and gas. We have to utilize our strategic position more in relation to Europe and Africa. We can be a hub between the East, West, Europe and Africa for transhipment’, he declared airing Libya’s long time ambition to become a gateway for trade following the Dubai model.
‘There is huge tourism potential in Libya’
‘There is huge tourism potential in Libya with 2000 kilometres of beaches on the Mediterranean. We have much potential if we succeed in maintaining stability and achieve transparent democracy’, Minister Sigoutri declared.
Libya’s housing shortage
Throwing some light on Libya’s current urgent needs and on some of the causes of the problems in his sector, Minister Sigoutri explained that ‘the previous regime through its policies discouraged investors from investing in the housing sector. After the 80’s and, for more than 20 years, they did not build any housing, creating a very big housing shortage’.
‘There are no Master Plans for infrastructure, and therefore it was a worse situation for the infrastructure sector than the housing sector. Therefore, the infrastructure of Libya has not progressed as far’. We need a Master Plan’ he stressed.
US$60-80 billion of potential of new business for foreign companies
‘Contractually, the infrastructure sector was allocated around US$ 20 billion in the past’. However, the Housing and Infrastructure Minister felt that ‘US$ 60-80 billion’s worth would need to be implemented in the infrastructure sector alone.
What will happen to the existing stalled projects?
Asked to comment about the existing stalled projects, Minister Sigoutri felt that ‘some old projects will be tendered for’ whilst others will be completed by their original contractors. He did not elaborate any further on which companies would lose their contracts nor did he clarify the criteria upon which a contractor would continue or be excluded
Asked if there would be any new contracts put out or any new projects proposed, Minister Sigoutri revealed that Tripoli’s ‘city metro is a priority and it will be put out to tender soon’
He further clarified that ‘All projects within the Master Plan come under the responsibility of the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure’.
Decades of neglect
The Minister stressed that there is a need to expand and develop most of the infrastructure of Libya after decades of neglect.
The Minister highlighted just one sector as such an example. ‘We estimate that Tripoli has about 450,000 liters of waste water that needs to be treated, but our water treatment capacity is only 35,000 liters. The balance of this water is pumped into the sea. This is a shame really for a country of our income levels’, he admitted.
Minister Sigoutri concluded by stressing the importance of a good infrastructure for the general development and progress of Libya.
‘Infrastructure is the base for any economic activity, therefore it is important for investment and for attracting investors’, he informed the attentive audience of foreign investors. [/restrict]