By Hadi Fornaji.
Benghazi, 18 August:
Poor families in Benghazi are being deprived of much-needed social support following an ongoing salary dispute embroiling the city’s Ministry of Social Affairs.
Benghazi’s social affairs coordinator, Mahmoud Fituri, had recently announced that a one-off payment 500 dinars was to be given to every needy family registered with the local council on the occasion of Eid.
However, continued protests at the Social Affairs Ministry’s Benghazi office have made it impossible for staff to finish processing the payments, according to the council’s spokesman, Khaled Al-Jazwee.
“Mr Fituri has said that the money cannot be paid whilst the ministry’s employees are unable to complete official procedures”, Al-Jazwee said.
The crisis at the ministry has been ongoing since 19 July, when protesters stormed the Planning Office in Benghazi demanding unpaid salaries and living expenses owed by the Social Affairs Ministry.
At that time it was revealed that past payments totalling 15 million dinars had previously been advanced by the Benghazi Local Council on behalf of the ministry, and that these had not been repaid.
Earlier this week, the council made clear the extent of the crisis in its own finances following the resignation of its president, Shahat Awami, after just two-and-a-half months in office.
Awami complained of unworkable conditions after it was revealed that the council had just two million dinars left in its account, having been paid just a fraction of the 68 million dinars owed to it by the government in Tripoli for the first six months of this year.