By Ahmed Elumami.
Tripoli, 4 September 2013:
The Minister of Finance, Kelani Abdulkareem, has denied reports that his ministry had recovered LD 70 . . .[restrict]billion of frozen assets as well as discovering a further LD 50 billion in an unnamed foreign country.
Speaking at the Prime Minister’s press conference this afternoon, Abdulkareem angrily defended the ministry, saying that there were “groups” seeking to make problems for the government and cause instability by spreading disinformation. He demanded they stand up their claims with valid proof.
For his part, Ali Zeidan pointed out that his government could not spend any money except with the approval of the General National Congress. He too attacked social media allegations that the government had been “manipulating” the Libyan people’s money.
The state’s finances were run by the Finance Committee of Congress, he said, and his government could not spend anything from the approved budget unless Congress issued a decision allowing it.
“If anyone has evidence proving that the government is stealing public money, he should present it to the courts,” Zeidan said.
“The total of 2013 budget is LD 668 billion,” Abdulkareem stated. “The budget included LD 21 billion for salaries, LD 11 billion for state expenses, LD 19 billion for transformation and LD 10 billion for subsidies on goods, fuel, electricity and feed.”
He too expained that these amounts of money were not immediately available to the state after the budget was approved. They were transferred “gradually in different months” as money rolled into the state coffers from oil sales, customs and excise returns and other revenue, such as investments by the Central Bank of Libya and profits from the telecommunications companies.
He pointed out that petroleum revenue “usually” required 45 days until to be deposited in the state bank account.
With regard to the strikes in the oil fields and the blockade of the terminals, the Finance Minister stated that the strikes’ “negative influence” and the halt to exports would start to impact on Libya’s resources as of this month, September.
The budget for the current year, including salaries, would be affected by the strikes, he said.