By Moutaz Ali.
Tripoli, 14 May 2017:
The row about between the National Oil Corporation (NOC) and the Presidency Council (PC) deepened today in a flurry of increasingly bitter exchanges.
NOC chief Mustafa Sanalla is claiming that the PC has welched on promises last November to fund the oil business properly while the PC is insisting that it has honoured all its promises to NOC .
Last night, a letter from the PC to Sanalla was leaked on the internet. It claimed that it had given NOC all the money it needed and that the NOC chairman should stop making statements to the media which it said “lacked credibility”.
Today, Sanalla shot back that he had never received the letter and only learnt of its contents through the media. NOC later put out a statement saying that there were considerable difference between the amounts the PC had agreed to furnish NOC in a deal last November and the figures it quoted in its letter yesterday.
NOC said that for instance it was LD150 million short on salaries. The PC had promised to pay LD 1.35 million but had only produced LD 1.2 million. Likewise, NOC claimed today that the PC committed itself to providing LD 2 billion for investments and repairs but had only come up with LD 1.6 billion.
Under Qaddafi, Libya’s state oil company was deprived of any control whatsoever over its cashflow. Its sales proceeds went to the account of the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) in the Libyan Arab Foreign Bank. The NOC still, as under the old regime, has to go to the government for every dinar it wants to spend.
It was Sanalla’s drive to acquire greater control over budgeting and cash allocation that opened the breach with the PC . With their Resolution 292 this March, Faiez Serraj and his fellow council members have sought to remove from NOC much of its control over its commercial and trading relationships.