By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 5 February 2013:
Speaking about Benghazi at yesterday’s press conference, alongside his Deputy, Prime Minister Ali Zeidan stressed that . . .[restrict]Benghazi will have its share of development in a studied and organised way.
Reacting to a question from the media regarding the situation with regards to the demands by those in the east to transfer the National Oil Corporation (NOC) headquarters from Tripoli to Benghazi, the Prime Minister was adamant that he will not act under pressure.
“The Benghazi issue is a strategic one and not a reactive issue. We will take steps but not under pressure from the street. But we will react from a point of view that Benghazi needs a strategic, studied plan. I assure you that other institutions will be established in Benghazi”.
Deputy Prime Minister Awad Barasi added to the Prime Minister’s comments regarding Benghazi.
“Benghazi may have projects on a regional scale. It was marginalized because of the decades of negligence by the previous regime”, he explained, hinting that the issue was much grander than the simple matter of transferring the headquarters of the NOC to the city.
Appealing for patience, the Deputy Prime Minister, who hails from the east, added that “everything takes its time. Its natural time”.
The response by the Prime Minister and his Deputy comes on the back of demands by mainly those in the oil sector in the east of Libya that the NOC headquarters are transferred to the east.
This demand is partly political, partly as an anti-centralisation measure, partly as a job-creation measure and partly from the point of view that most of Libya’s oil is produced from the eastern region.
The last point seems to be the central starting point for the political demand by some federalists as justification that the NOC headquarters be moved east.
But in truth, as time passes and the GNC and the successive governments drag their feet in executing policies that improve the living standards of Libyans, and especially those in the east who suffered most under Qaddafi, the louder the demands for de-centralisation and federalism grow.
Both the Prime Minister and his Deputy seemed to indicate an awareness of this fact as they hinted that some kind of respite is forthcoming with the approval of the budget.
“We are awaiting the GNC approval of the budget so that we can execute government policies”, Prime Minister Zeidan emphasized. [/restrict]