By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 4 January:
Economy Minister Mustafa Abufunas said that “the economic sector needs priority in re-building. It was badly constrained . . .[restrict]in its ability to grow (by the previous regime) at a ministerial press conference in Tripoli on Thursday.
“Unemployment is now estimated at about 20 per cent. We will take a number of measures to create jobs for the youth, increase production and raise standards”, he explained as part of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan government’s increased efforts to reach out to Libya’s media.
“We have put in place a plan which includes various programmes, such as improving the legislative environment to help the private sector in the economy. We will review all the laws and legislation”, he promised.
Abufunas continued: “We plan to initiate programmes to provide jobs and especially for the small and medium enterprise [SME] sector. We plan to create a new funding body for SMEs. We also plan to help increase exports and we are looking at dates, fish, and olive oil. These steps will also create new jobs”, he added.
Regarding quality control, the minister stated that the products and services control department will also be revitalised and the Chambers of Commerce and the Business Councils will be reorganised.
Regarding Libya’s huge multi-billion dinar subsidies programme, Abufunas noted that this encourages smuggling across Libya’s borders and stated that his department will be looking at switching from goods subsidies to cash subsidies. He stressed that the subsidies of goods will only be removed once cash subsidies have been put in place.
In conclusion, the Economy Minister invited companies, both local and international, to resume their projects stalled by the revolution in 2011. [/restrict]