By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 20 December:
The Misrata based Libyan Businessmen Council held a meeting today morning at the Corinthia hotel at which . . .[restrict]both the Minister of Economy and the Prime Minister were present.
The meeting entitled ‘’A meeting with the Ministry of Economy on the vision of the Ministry for the Libyan economy’’ was packed full with over 200 guests present reflecting the presence of the two guests of honor.
Prime Minister Ali Zeidan noted in his speech that ‘’commerce is the axis on which the economy rotates. The old regime made doing business a crime. But with the February 17th Revolution this has now thankfully changed. There can be no development without the private sector and the market economy. The foundation of the development of Libya is by activating the economy and the market through the loyal and patriotic Libyan citizens. Rebuilding the market is vital to creating an enterprising marketplace and economy for Libya’’.
‘’The government will support the free market economy and help the business men and business environment. But they must keep in mind that the whole infrastructure had been destroyed by the previous regime’’.
The Minister of Economy, Mustafa Abufunas, on his part agreed that there needed to be much work and reform. ‘’We must change the laws to make
doing business easier including the process of company formation. We must now allow business people to name their companies after their own surnames. We will reform the various laws including the agency laws and the laws for distributors’’.
On the issue of subsidies and the state monopoly in the supply of a number of subsidies foods, Minister Abufunas stressed that he ‘’will allow the free supply of formerly subsidized food goods and we will concentrate on direct subsidies and improving the purchasing power of citizens’’.
After the formal speeches and the departure of the Prime Minister, there followed a question and answer session with the Minister of Economy.
It is worth noting that there are currently at least three different business councils in Libya reflecting the chronology of the 17th February Revolution. The only legally recognized business council under the present law inherited from the Qaddafi era is the one based in the Dat Il Imad Towers in Tripoli called the Libyan Businessmen Council.
During the Revolution and as Benghazi was the first city to be liberated, it formed its own business council. The same occurred in the then besieged city of Misrata as its business community took – and still does – a leading role in running the city.
After the liberation of the whole of Libya, efforts were made to unite all the business councils, but to no avail. Post liberation governments have been happy to deal with and support all the business councils until the old law is reformed sometime in the future.