By Callum Paton.
Tripoli, 29 May 2014:
The Governor of the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) has said the government and the General . . .[restrict]National Congress (GNC) must not hamper efforts as the central bank protects the nation’s finances from political infighting.
In the latest in an ongoing spat between the government the CBL and the GNC, the central bank’s governor, Saddek Elkaber, has said the CBL had received only LD 4 billion of the LD 18 billion portion of the national budget it had expected by the end of April. He said this would not be enough to pay national salaries, let alone other costs.
Elkaber added that the central bank would act as a safety valve, allowing the business sector to function through this turbulen period of disagreement between Congress and the government.
In April Elkaber, called for a public hearing to defend himself after Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni accused him in a TV interview of arbitrarily blocking money and acting like a despot.
Earlier this month, speaking at a MENA business summit in Amman Elkaber said the government lacked political will and had adopted populist short-term policies at the expense of long term gains.
His most recent statement was made ostensibly to quash rumours that a new government and newly elected House of Representatives would have to pass a new budget for 2014 irrespective of any budget that might be passed by the GNC in coming weeks.
The GNC has consistently moved the budget to the back if its agenda as it wrangles over the post of Interim Prime Minister. Elkaber said that legally once the budget was passed only the Ministries of Finance and Planning were directly concerned with its implementation. He added the budget should be apportioned monthly throughout the year and that this rule should be broken only in exceptional circumstances.
The governor accepted that patience was necessary in the face depleted oil revenues which have resulted from ongoing blockades. In April The Head of the General National Congress Budget Committee has said cuts to infrastructure and government salaries were necessary in the face of falling oil returns. The current budget before congress amounts to LD 44 billion, a figure LD 24 billion lower than 2014 budget estimates revealed in March.
In July Elkaber saw off attempts to remove him from his post when the GNC announced, without a public debate that they were seeking to replace him. A list of thirty names was drawn up to replace him. [/restrict]