By Adam Nathan.
Ahmed Maiteeg, Deputy Prime Minister of the UN-backed Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), said that he would be pursuing three linked goals for Libya in 2017.
At the first major economic reform event outside Libya since the GNA came to power just over a year ago, Maiteeg said that the GNA was successfully pursuing three targets, or goals: fighting terrorism, uniting Libyan institutions and reconciliation.
“We are fighting terrorism and Daesh,” said Maiteeg at the Libya Reconstruction & Investment Forum at Lancaster House, outlining the first goal. “What has happened in Sirte is a clear indication of our success in this task. We gave kicked them [Daesh] out with our friends and allies and we continue our job to remove these devils out of our country.”
Maiteeg explained that his second goal was to unite the major Libyan institutions: The National Oil Corporation (NOC), the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) and the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), and that there had also been partial success.
“We have succeeded with the NOC and production of oil has reached almost 800,000 a day, something we could only dream about six months ago and a key driver for the Libyan economy,” said Maiteeg. “The oil revenue is going to the central bank in Tripoli and our government is in total control of it.”
Maiteeg also claimed the GNA had had success with the central bank. “With the CBL we have succeeded to reach a sufficient budget for the year, which is very important for all institutions and for the government to start helping Libyan people and for preventing any lack of essential services such as last year’s in the health sector,” he said. “Our budget is for all Libya, east, west and south. More than 153 hospitals and more than 24 universities. We are going to see in three months a better situation.”
However, the Libyan DPM from Misrata revealed that there were differences of opinion between the GNA and the CBL on how to tackle the country’s liquidity crisis. “We believe this is now at heart an exchange rate issue and that the policy needs to be changed,” he said. He also said that electronic payment systems would ease the burden.
Maiteeg said that the GNA’s third goal was reconciliation. “The third mission is reconciliation,” he said. “We need to unite all Libyans who have left the country and who are inside the country but dislocated. This is reconciliation for all Libyans and we have teams to bring Libyans back to their cities and villages.”
Maiteeg said he was at the event to encourage investment in a new Libya. “We passed through 42 years of one man show and now have a new government and younger generation with different ways of solving problems. Investors should know this is the right moment and place to invest and that Libyan investment is very good.”
Security remained an issue: “The issues now are not legal issues, but security issues, and the government needs to focus on issues such as security for foreign workers,” he said. Asked a question about cooperating with General Khalifa Haftar, leader of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Maiteeg replied: “We are happy to deal with any military person in Libya, if they come under a civil government.”
Adam Nathan can be contacted at [email protected].com and +44 7900 783662.
(Picture: Developing Markets Associates)