(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
The Libyan government based in Tripoli has selected a finance minister and a deputy finance minister with the intention that they would be able to give the Government access to Libya’s central bank.
A statement released by the Libyan government’s Presidential Council announced that Osama Saleh, who is considered to be an ally of groups in eastern Libya, will be Libya’s finance minister and Abubakr Al-Jafal will be the deputy minister.
It is likely that this announcement will frustrate the Libyan parliament based in Tobruk, which does not back the Libyan government in Tripoli, since they were not consulted on the selection of the finance minister.
Since arriving to Tripoli in March, the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) has been grappling with Libya’s failing economy. One of its biggest struggles was to secure funds and distribute them.
Since the 2011 Libyan uprising that brought the downfall of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, Libya’s economy has plummeted.
The announcement of a financial minister and his deputy comes after a meeting took place in London last month intending to resolve the tension that exists between the Libyan government’s presidential council and the Central Bank of Libya.
One of Al-Jafal’s main responsibilities will be to communicate between the Presidential Council and the Central Bank to get payments approved and distributed, however, the specifics of the process have not been made clear.
The Central Bank agreed to make available to the council 8.6 billion dinars, which is equivalent to $ 5 billion, of which will be used to pay public salary, 800 million will be used for electricity credits, and 600 million dinars will be directed to Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC), according to Libya’s Audit Bureau.
Eastern political groups do not approve of the London meeting but continue to allow oil revenues to be deposited in the Central Bank in Tripoli.
A UN mediation team on Friday called on Libya’s eastern parliament to formally recognize the Libyan political agreement signed in December 2015. The meditation team also called on the Presidential Council “to improve its performance to address the stifling security, social and economic problems that face Libyan citizens across the country”.