by Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, March 19 2012:
Libya need to revaluate construction projects approved by the Qaddafi regime and see if they are . . .[restrict]necessary.
This was one of the main conclusions of a workshop on the Libyan Development Plan held on Monday, March 19, at Tripoli’s Al-Naser Woods Conference Hall.
Another conclusion was that the Libyan system of awarding contracts has to be comprehensively reviewed if there is to be proper transparency. Libya needed to adopt international standards when it came to contracts, tendering, execution, negotiations, arbitration and legal contestation.
Entitled ‘Reality, Vision and Needs’, the workshop was opened by the Prime Minister, Abdurrahim Al-Kib, and attended by Planning Minister Isa Tuwejri and Industry Minister Mohamed Ftesi.
Historically, those attending were told, contracts were awarded without proper tendering, planning, pre-planning or review. For example, contracts were not checked for consistency within Libya’s master plan.
Often implementation on certain projects would start prior to even any form of planning. There were far too many contracts for Libya’s size and Libya did not have the manpower, experience, know-how to manage or execute them.
A panel of experts recommended that a committee be formed to review current contracts and set criteria as to which projects were deemed urgent, necessary, short-, medium- or long-term. Decisions would have to be quickly made regarding projects that the former regime started that were now deemed not to be in Libya’s public interest.
Such decisions, it was agrued, would have to be based on data collection of the current status of the projects in Libya, technical evaluation, fiscal evaluation and the legal implications of any decisions taken. These would all need to be taken within some form – even if incomplete – of master plan.
It was agreed that there also needed to be a realistic assessment of the effect of Force Majeure on existing contracts. A review of current claims needed to be considered and where possible agreement sought or arbitration engaged with contracting parties.
A clear mechanism and guidance system would have to be set as to which projects needed to be cancelled, despite the cost that that may incur. Some projects could be deemed lower in priority in view of Libya’s immediate postwar needs and could therefore be justifiably postponed it was stated.
There would be a need to re-negotiate some project with the contractors. If an amicable agreement were quickly reached, these projects could be given the green light and work could recommence, subject to Libya’s current 2012 financial budgetary constraints.
As the Libyan budget suggested, there are projects that are urgent and immediate. The 2012 Budget set aside LD 19.1 billion (28 percent of the total budget) for priority projects and reconstruction work caused by war damage. These would need priority attention as their lack of implementation would have consequences on Libya’s newly attained stability.
Again, projects would need to be reviewed and reassessed and listed in order of immediacy and urgency. It was said that these could include, in a suggested order of priority, potable water, sanitation, food, housing, power and transport projects.
It was explained in the absence of fully researched plans, alternate criteria must be created as a guidance tool.
In political reality, short-term needs could not wait for long-term solutions. The authorities had to formulate short-term and maybe medium-term master plans — whilst finalising the definitive long-term master plan.
The planning authorities, the workshop agreed, had to formulate mechanisms so as to be able to convert their visions into reality. These would depend on the nation’s long-term visions and goals – within the constraints of Libya’s realities.