By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 29 July:
The Libyan Tractor and Agricultural Tools Company, part of the Ministry of Industry, celebrated the production of . . .[restrict]the first post-Revolution tractor last week.
At a ceremony at the Tajura Industrial Zone based factory, headed by the Deputy Minister for Industry, Hassan Al-Droui, it was stressed that the tractor (model MF 240) was made to international standards which would make it one of the most advanced tractors produced.
Equally it was stressed that the tractor was made using only Libyan manpower and that the tractor, the first to be made by the factory since May 2011, cost LD 17,850 to produce (about US$ 14,280).
The Deputy Minister thanked the factory workers for their efforts and indicated their readiness to compete in world markets.
It is yet to be established whether Libya can compete on the international markets by assembling tractors, trucks, mini buses etc locally, or whether it would be cheaper to import them.
These are some of the major decisions that a new Libyan government would have to take when reassessing the efficiency of its industrial sector.
It will have to take some difficult decisions in view of the pressure on the one hand to create jobs for the mass unemployed, and hence continue to subsidize uneconomic and uncompetitive factories and an industrial sector for the sake of job creation.
On the other hand, it must consider opportunity costs and whether it can invest those subsidies in new sectors where Libya can produce better value for money moving forward and create new industries for new jobs – where Libya can better compete on the world markets?
It is worth noting that the MF brand tractors are assembled and not manufactured in the Tajura based Libyan ‘factory’.