By Nihal Zaroug.
Tripoli, 15 January 2013:
Despite attempts by former Deputy Prime Minister Mustafa Abushagur to quash allegations of monetary mismanagement by the transitional government, former Prime Minister Abdurrahim Al-Kib, has now stepped in to set the record straight.
Appearing on Libya Al Watania on 14 January, Kib stated that his government had not misspent the 2012 budget.
Kib said that the transitional government spent 37 percent of the allocated LD 12.13 billion under “Chapter II – Operational Expenses”, and clarified that only LD 102 million was spent on office outfitting, representing 2.29 percent of total expenditures from Chapter II.
The topic of spending on office fittings and supplies has been widely discussed and ridiculed by Libyan media following an interview on 5 January with General National Congress (GNC) President Mohamed Magarief, when he claimed the Kib government had spent LD 5 billion on office furniture and stationary.
During his discussion, the former prime minister said that the LD 5-billion figure circulating in the news due to remarks by Magarief, represented the overall spending under Chapter II and included expenses to get the country up and running after the revolution.
Kib also said that one cannot reduce 30 items in Chapter II, representing the governments daily expenditure in “all state facilities across Libya”, as mere office preparations and furniture, as was done by Magarief. Doing so, was “unconceivable both realistically and logically”, and Magarief ‘s statements, says Kib, have resulted in negative public opinion and tarnishing of the reputation of his government.
On 8 January, after some criticism of his remarks, Magarief defended his words at the GNC evening session. According to Magarief, the figures he quoted were released during the transitional government’s handover phase. The figures, he believes, indicated wasteful spending and should be reviewed by the audit bureau.
As an example of spending under Chapter II, Kib gave the cost of LD 1.433 billion spent by the Oil Ministry to bring back oil production to pre-war levels of 1.6 million b/d.
Other areas of spending named by Kib were funds allocated to state schools, universities, hospitals and the “all important” rebuilding of state amenities including work to fix electrical shortages.
Kib said he stands by his government’s spending for the period ending on 30 September 2012. He added that his TV appearance was not in self-defense but in order to address the rights of citizens to hear the truth. It was also a commitment to transparency.
Osman Hershi adds:
According to Kib, the total allocated state budget for 2012 was LD 68.523 billion. Total expenditure was LD 26.839 billion. The amount unspent was LD 41.684 billion.
Total expenditure was thus 39 percent of the budget, Kib said, adding that Magarief’s suggestion that only LD 6 billion dinars remained was not true.
He gave the detailed expenditure as follows;
The First Category:
Budget allocations under this particular category included the steering, daily and operational expenses of all state institutions for 2012.
The allocated budget for this was LD 12.137 billion. The actual amount spent was LD 4.470 billion. This represents only 37 percent of the total amount allocated in the budget under this category which consisted of 30 articles. Yet this was presented and summarized by the GNC president as being spent on office furniture.
The Second Category:
(Kib said it related “to all state activities all over Libya, from eastern to west and from north to south”.)
Oil Ministry: Money used to reinstate oil production to pre-war levels of 1.6 million pbd, this process cost the Ministry LD 1.433 billion which represents 32.1 percent of money allocated under this category.
Employees of foreign companies, factories and national companies who were forced to stop work during the revolution were paid salaries of about LD 450 a month. Total spent budget on this category was LD 547 million, which represented 12.2 percent of money allocated under this category.
The amount allocated for the Local Government Ministry to support local councils was LD 485 million.
We have a statement which we will make available for everyone, especially the media domain clarifying all this.
The Third Category:
Investment programmes were allocated LD 19.118 billion. Of this the amount released was LD 3.300 billion.
Kib said the allocated budget for this had not been spent all because his government wanted to be careful with expenditure in order safeguard public money and to avoid corruption. Also his government discovered that contracts which were signed by the previous regime which were estimated at around LD 100 billion were mostly corrupt and unworthy. The Transitional Government assigned a special committee to review all these contracts in accordance to law 20 of 2012.
The second reason for not spending the allocated budget for this category was because foreign companies did return to Libya to finish their projects.
The government was eager, however, to make sure that national companies carried out their allocated/signed contracts.
The Forth Category:
Relating to subsidies on food supplies, fuel, electricity, medicine, pesticides and animal feed, a budget of LD 14.600 billion was were allocated under this category but LD 7.517 billion was actually spent.
He emphasised that a special finance committee had been tasked, with the supervision of the Auditory Office, to hand-over all the funds to the new government according to legal procedures.
“My question would be”, Kib asked, “was the statement made by the GNC leader represents his personal views, or was speaking as the GNC leader and was it the views of all GNC members?”
He went on: “But before we hear the answer, I want them to know the consequences of such statements and the negative impact such statement would have on the public opinion, let alone that such statements would send a message of despair and loss of hope among people!
“We now clarify the situation not to defend ourselves or condemn anyone, but for the sake of respecting peoples’ rights and application of transparency.
“We also stress that no one is above the law and that we are ready torender an account. It is possible to find an excuse for the ordinary citizen but would be rather difficult finding an excuse for senior officials because are simply able to clarify any matter by a telephone call or take the matter through the legal channels.
“The government worked hard to protect public money and be very careful with things on which public money are spent, the government managed to save the state over 60 percent of the allocated budget in 2012, which means that more than LD 41 billion were saved by the end of 2012.
I urge officials to concentrate on the preparation of the state constitution and the activation of the local councils law which was presented by the transitional government and approved by the GNC and other pressing matters in order to develop and construct Libya instead of going into arguments about matters that could sorted and followed by the right legal institutions.”