By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 26 July:
The Finance Minister, Hassan Zaglam, responding to questions from the members of the press at the official . . .[restrict]press conference yesterday explained that he expected that there will be no deficit in the government’s 2012 LD 68.5 billion budget – contrary to what had been anticipated at the time of the budget’s announcement.
Zaglam explained that the budget had been based on oil production of 1.35 million barrels per day and at a price of LD 100 (US$ 80) per barrel.
The budget was divided into 4 chapters, he explained. Chapter 1 was wages and this was on target as 50% of this budget had been used and all wages paid by 30 June, he revealed.
This would have been news to a few Libyans who are still claiming their wages had not been paid yet. Minister Zaglam did not explain if the bottleneck of some wages is beyond his ministry, at other ministries and departments.
Chapter 2 was for ongoing expenditures and Zaglam made no comments on that section.
Chapter 4 is the Re-development section of the budget which amounts to LD 19 billion. On this, Finance Minister Zaglam, known for occasionally going off message, pulled no punches when he stated what everyone at the government knows – but never utters publicly.
The security situation has not improved enough for foreign companies to resume their work in Libya
‘The security situation has not improved enough for foreign companies to resume their work in Libya, and this is stopping the expenditure of the redevelopment budget’, the Minister said, causing the official spokesperson Naser Al-Mana standing next to him to grimace.
However, he did admit that ‘some companies were ready to return’. Therefore, he concluded that Libya will probably ‘not spend most of its redevelopment budget’ of 2012.
Regarding chapter 4 which is the finances allocated to subsidies, the Finance Minister anticipated that only LD 12 billion of the allocated 14 billion will be spent in 2012. He did not however go on to explain the reason for this.
Therefore, he concluded that unknown and uncalculated payments such as the payments to the thuwar (brigadesmen), the war injured and families of the martyrs could still be met from reserves set aside by the Central Bank.
He stressed that the authorities were committed to these outstanding payments. But he still concluded that there will probably be no deficite which was anticipated in February at between LD 7 and 10 billion. [/restrict]