By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 10 July 2013:
Refering to the breakdown of the 2013 Budget at Sunday’s press conference, Prime Minister Ali Zeidan . . .[restrict]said that LD 20 bn was allocated to existing and stalled projects executed by (foreign) companies.
Zeidan said that Libya will lose twice because it already paid for these projects and the (foreign) companies will start court cases against us if we don’t pay them.
Moreover, he said that it is possible that the claims could be paid from Libya’s frozen accounts overseas, therefore Libya must spend on existing projects and compensate companies, he added, and that the existing budget is barely enough to cover that.
These monies do not come from our pockets, Zeidan continued, and that the additional monies must be approved by the GNC so that his governemt could launch its aims and policies.
The implication from Zeidan’s statement is that his government is in favour of paying foreign contractors and that it may be the GNC which is stalling on this policy.
It will be interesting to see if there is a slight shift in policy by the GNC under its new head Nuri Abusahmain, who is more business friendly in view of his business background and stronger business connections relative to his predecessor.
It will be recalled that the Libyan government had in theory offered foreign contractors 50 percent of their outstanding debts upon recommencing their work, with subsequent payments to follow.
However, despite numerous announcements heralding the return of foreign companies, in reality there is no evidence of full scale remobilization on the ground.
Equally, at last months MEED Libya Projects 2013 conference, some companies challenged the Libyan government to stick to the offered payment formula by offering to return within weeks.
It was also announced at the same conference that some projects were to be re-offered for tendering. [/restrict]