By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 29 May 2013:
At yesterday’s press conference Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said that his cabinet had formed a committee to . . .[restrict]discuss the subject of subsidies and the increase of wages.
In his brief mention of the topic of subsidy reform, Zeidan linked the idea of the substitution of subsidies with direct cash benefits, without saying it in so many words.
Whilst he mentioned the increase of wages, Zeidan did not indicate if the self-employed sector would also receive a cash payment instead of the present subsidies on fuels, electricity, domestic gas and some food items.
It will be recalled that when the GNC passed the 2013 LD 66.86 billion budget in March, it had stipulated a condition of the government putting forward proposals for the reform of the current subsidies by June.
Subsidies constitute LD 10.6 billion or 15.9 percent of the total budget – one of the highest as a proportion of GDP in the world.
It will also be recalled that the IMF is advising Libya on its subsidy reform programme and in its study on the subject, it recommends a strong media campaign in order to win over the general public in favour of subsidy reform. [/restrict]