Interview with General Manager of Jumhouria Bank

On one hand the government is saying the bank has to lend but on the other hand, the laws actually hinder the lending.

Some decisions should be made by the central bank as well, but on the other side, the problem is that many issues are pending – at the level of the government ministers. For example, the urban area - the Ministry of Finance should designate places where new houses can be build. We have to get the proper license from us or investors who would like to get the loans for building or the real estate in general.

But they need the proper license from each municipality to enable investors to come to the banks or the banks themselves can't get these lands, at least to enable us to build it and sell it to the people, to contribute to arranging housing for people. The government should take some steps to prepare or finalize some decisions or laws, especially with the municipalities in the area, at least to prepare some lands with infrastructure and change it from rural to urban area to enable investors to build and construct there.

Regarding construction and privatization, before the revolution there were plans to privatize land. Some of the banks were privatized. Some of them, such as commercial banks and yourself, are still in the hands of the government. What do you feel is the future of privatization?

We have had bad experiences with privatization of banks in libya. Sahara Bank took 19% with the management with BNP Paribas but unfortunately there have been issues with both sides and it's not working well. At the same time, Arab Bank took part of Wahda Bank and they have problems as well. If there's a real partnership, it should be established properly.

The banks should benefit from the experience of the international banks who take over a percentage of these banks but unfortunately what we noticed with Wahda Bank and Sahara Bank was a really bad experience. Regarding privatization, first of all, the central bank of Libya does not have international agreements with financial institutions and this is the first which the central bank of Libya should take offers in the near future.Jumhouria Bank Inside Branch

For Jumhouria Bank, in my opinion, this should be taken by the Ministry of Finance. Libya should have one government bank. But for the other banks, they should be put on the stock market and sold to the private sector gradually after they do their 2011 and 2012 financial reports and financial statements.

Some international company should probably do a proper valuation to determine the proper price for shares for the bank. Then it could be sold on the stock market here which would be much better. This can give opportunities even to international investors or local investors to take shares, thus improving the local stock market. It is not very active; there are currently only small shares from certain companies in Libya.

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