By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 29 December:
At a press conference held at the Prime Minister’s Office on Thursday (27th December), Deputy Prime Minister . . .[restrict]Awad Al-Barasi warned against the abuse of the freedom and right to demonstrate and hold civic disobedience actions and promised that the government will deliver.
Referring to the numerous and often debilitating strikes, blockages and civic disobedience actions that have been held all over the country since Libya’s Liberation in November last year, Barasi felt that these actions went “beyond the right to demonstrate”.
The Libya Herald asked the Deputy Prime Minister about the contradicting news regarding the reining-in of weapons, the consolidation of the thuwar (revolutionaries) into the official government security forces and the breaking-up of the SSC.
Barasi referred again to statements by Interior Minister Shuwail on the matter and reiterated the government’s call to all militias to either join the official government forces or disband.
The Libya Herald also asked the Deputy Prime Minister about the 2013 budget, its anticipated size and weather he was prepared to offer any insights.
“We had asked every ministry to present their budget proposals by November/December for discussion. We hope to present our proposed budget to the GNC by the end of December or early January so that it is ready for approval by the end of January.”
“We hope to avoid the budget delays of last year”, Barasi stressed without giving any hints as to the anticipated size of the budget.
A LD 68.5-billion budget was announced for 2012. But it is believed that conservative spending by the Al-Kib government resulted in only a fraction of being spent. This was partially due to the Kib government’s fear of corruption and the lack of institutional monitoring capabilities.
Responding to questions regarding the demonstrations by the thuwar that had led to the blockage of the Zawia refinery and the unfulfilled subsequent promises by the government to treat their war wounds abroad, Barasi stressed that the government “had barely started” and that it was awaiting the new budget.
He also said that government officials had visited Germany to implement the matter but because of the Christmas holidays it was taking longer to proccess sending the injured thuwar abroad for medical treatment.
He condemned their the blockading of the Zawia oil refinery and stressed that the government would from now on deal with such actions “in all seriousness”.
The Deputy Prime Minister was then asked to contrast the performance of the previous government, in which he was Minister of Electricity, and this government. Was this government going to deliver more, he was asked.
Barasi admitted that it was challenging for the previous Kib government and said that this current Zeidan government would operate as a crises management government. People would see the difference in the performance of this government he promised.
He highlighted the fact that he had just returned from a few days in Benghazi and he felt that the government had stabilised the situation there;
He also revealed, as another example of tangible achievements by the present government, the work they are doing on the electricity supply. “We expect power shortages in 2013 and will be holding meetings today to try to prevent this. I hope to visit the south and open a power plant in Obari”.
“You will see progress”, Barasi stressed.
“We will be presenting laws to the GNC in the next few days such as on Interim Justice and on the criminalization of torture. We are a newborn government. But we will talk of action and you will witness progress”, Barasi promised. [/restrict]