By Sami Zaptia.
London, 4 March 2021:
The Governor of the eastern Central Bank of Libya, Ali Hibri, has submitted a request to the head of the House of Representatives (HoR), Ageela Saleh, requesting that he be allowed to retire, the eastern official state news agency LANA reported yesterday.
In his widely circulated letter to Saleh, Hibri said he has reached the legal retirement age in accordance with Central Bank regulations.
In his letter Hibri said that the reason for his resignation is due to the continuing lack of financing capacity due to the state’s reliance on one source, which is “oil and gas,” which, he added, makes it impossible to secure financing because the public debt has reached a level that makes continuing the debt economically harmful to the banking sector and on the macroeconomic level.
Hibri added that the difficulty of the continuity of financing, and the placing a lot of pressure on the bank’s management has become difficult to deal with due to the absence of security protection for the bank and its employees.
Hibri’s request for retirement has been interpreted by analysts on several levels.
End of the road?
On the one hand he may have decided that he is not going to be appointed as Governor of a unified CBL and that he may find it unacceptable to be simply a Deputy Governor or a member of the CBL board. He is also unpopular in Tripoli for indirectly allowing eastern based banks to help fund Khalifa Hafter’s war on Tripoli. Thus, he may prefer to retire at this time in an attempt to retain some dignity.
Pressure to increase eastern debt?
Others feel he has come under increasing pressure to allow eastern banks to issue more loans to the eastern Libyan government led by prime minister Abdalla Thinni. This may include pressure from Hafter’s Libyan National Army (LNA) or aligned militias.
Hibri touched on the issue of the unsustainable huge eastern deficit.
UN CBL audit and eastern Libya’s deficit
Hibri could also be a anticipating the UN audit report which will show he oversaw the build-up of a huge deficit in the east. Some of this money may have been misspent and fingers may be pointed at him.
But there is also the increasing lack of security in the east as the LNA may begin to unravel. Recent social media video footage purportedly of the thrashing of the Toyota car dealer’s office in eastern Libya by LNA aligned forces (ICC wanted Mahmoud Warfaly?) is cited as another example.
On the other hand, Hibri could simply be using his resignation threat to attract more security from the eastern Libyan authorities.
Either way, it is not a good sign for eastern Libya as he is seen as the mainstay of the eastern fight against the Tripoli CBL.
ICC-wanted Warfali says he is handing himself in for investigation | (libyaherald.com)