By Sami Zaptia
Tripoli, 19 February 2013:
The Central Bank of Libya (CBL) Governor, Saddek Elkaber, said that he was very optimistic about Libya’s economy in 2013.
Speaking in Arabic on skynewsarabia.com yesterday, Governor Elkaber said that the CBL’s overseas frozen assets of around $126 billion had all been released and that releasing them does not mean that Libya is going to repatriate them, but that it means that Libya was now free to administer and manage them freely as it pleased.
Kabeer went on to forecast that Libya’s economy would grow by “about 20 percent if not more” in 2013. This is four percent higher than the IMF’s May forecast of 16 percent for 2013.
More importantly, Elkaber went on to assure that the security situation in Libya would improve in 2013 which he anticipated would lead to the “activation of current contracts” and the “return of foreign companies to resume their work”.
The governor gave no hints as to the progress of discussions with foreign contractors with regards to their demands for their outstanding debts with Libya, or with regards to some of their claims for compensation for losses incurred during Libya’s revolution.
Elkaber made no comments either about Libya’s 2013 budget, set at LD 66 billion (about $53 billion) and which is currently being discussed by Libya’s parliament, the General National Congress (GNC).
Foreign contractors will be eagerly waiting the details of the budget to see what amounts are set by the Libyan authorities in its Development Section. A large number in this section would indicate that the Libyan government is seriously ready to pump some money into this stalled sector.