By Ajnadin Mustafa.
Tripoli, 3 November 2015:
Sheikh Sadik Al-Ghariani has told strikers at the Ministry of Finance in Tripoli to end their . . .[restrict]action. In an open letter to them published by his Dar Al-Ifta, he warned that “if the house collapsed, no one would survive”.
A number of officials at the ministry stopped working on October 13 over low salaries and have been protesting outside ever since. They say they cannot make ends meet given the spiraling inflation in Libya.
In Tripoli, a baguette of bread now costs 750 dirhams compared to 200 dirhams last a few months ago,
In his letter, Ghariani who is still regarded as the country’s grand mufti in much of the west but not the east of the country, admitted there was corruption and bribery in the government, saying that “among the main reasons behind the current demonstrations are the lack of social justice and huge gap between salaries paid to top bosses and those given to the rest.”
However, Ghariani said the demonstration camp outside the ministry was unacceptable “in this hard situation that the country is going through with budget deficit. It doesn’t solve anything, nor does it give the protesters their rights. It only makes everything worse and serves the enemies of revolution.”
Two weeks ago, the Tripoli-based Central Bank of Libya said the country’s budget deficit was $9.5 billion at the end of September, warning of a financial “catastrophe” if no political agreement between the warring parties were reached.
Noting the grim economic situation with the fall in Libyan oil production, Ghariani said he already warned the GNC officials in 2014 to reduce the budget and “cut the costs and salaries”.
Ghariani added that he had advised officials suspected of corruption or those unable to do anything about it to resign.
“I also whisper into ears of protesters at the ministry of finance: the country needs you get back to work. Do not destroy this house over the people. Demand your rights, but remember if the house collapse, no one would survive,” he added. [/restrict]