By Sami Zaptia.
22 August 2013:
The Ministry of Interior yesterday called on all members of the Supreme Security Committee (SSC) who did . . .[restrict]not fulfill the requirements for work in the security sector and who wish to work in the civilian sector to complete the necessary paperwork.
The Ministry of Interior has about 120,000 security personnel and 75,000 administration staff. Many of these personnel have no real desire to be part of the Ministry of Interior or to do security work.
However, under the previous regime many were relieved of their jobs in other government departments as “excess labour” and were, without choice, transferred to the Ministry of Interior. Many have made applications to return to their previous jobs in other departments outside the security sector, but have been unsuccessful.
These “excess” employees are seen as a burden on the morale, performance and the wage bill of the Ministry of Interior which is adding to the complicated security situation Libya finds itself in post February 17th Revolution.
After the Revolution, the Ministry of Interior has attempted to integrate the mainly civilian SSC members. However, sources at the Ministry of Interior have confirmed that the overwhelming majority of SSC members are either unfit or uninterested in working in the security sector in the long term.
This has left the authorities with a dilemma as to what to do with them. The state sector is already over burdened with tens of thousands of under-performing employees, which is taking out huge chunks off the state budget in salaries.
The private sector, which the “new Libya” is counting on to create new jobs and growth, is still dormant unable to take off due to the poor security situation in the country. Until the official state security forces can start to dominate the security scene, it is very unlikely that foreign contractors will be able to return to resume their projects.
The presence of foreign contractors operating their multi-billion dinar projects would have great positive effects on the whole private sector and general labour market – including excess and disqualified former SSC and Ministry of Interior and Defence employees.
It is a catch 22 situation that the Libyan authorities must find a solution to urgently if they are to get Libya out of this vicious circle: The Libyan authorities cannot get the 200,000-odd registered former fighters to disband because it cannot offer alternative employment.
Therefore it has to continue paying them. It also cannot honestly disband all of the militias because it needs them in view of its inability to form a new loyal police and army. Equally, even if the authorities thought it morally acceptable, it could not simply sack them because they are armed and can, and most probably will, take objection to being sacked.
The authorities have decided to concentrate on a small but highly effective number of loyal and professional security personnel which they plan to train intensely locally and abroad.
The whole process has not been helped by all the politics in the background that has led to both the former Interior Ministers, Ashur Shuwail and Mohamed Sheikh, resigning.
On Tuesday, answering questions before the GNC, Prime Minister Zeidan made it clear that taking such a decision to stop paying the many militias – many of whom are sitting at home and not working – would have to be a joint decision between his government and the GNC.