By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 18 August 2013:
Speaking at last Wednesday’s press conference, Prime Minister Ali Zeidan admitted that corruption in Libya will not be wiped away in a day or two.
Zeidan was referring to the public debate questioning where his government had spent its LD 66 billion 2013 budget.
There is public debate and criticism of the Zeidan government that despite this large sum of money, the average citizen is not seeing any real improvements on the ground.
Moreover, this criticism that Zeidan was alluding to has increased recently with the news that the Prime Minister was applying for an increased budget from the GNC.
The details of his request fortuitously came into the public domain after the Amazigh demonstrators had stormed the GNC last Tuesday and stumbled across the documents in the GNC chamber. They were subsequently posted on Facebook.
Zeidan explained that his government had “inherited tens of projects that were stalled” which have LD 19 bn allocated for them in the budget. He repeated, as he has done on numerous occasions over the last few months, that these stalled projects should be restarted.
“If we don’t (restart the projects) we will lose. We may lose in court cases and we lose not having the projects that we need”, he explained again.
Regarding public concern about where the 2013 budget was being spent, Zeidan reminded the public that about LD 21 bn of the budget go to public sector wages. “We don’t put this money in our pockets”, he retorted to implied accusations of corruption.
Zeidan also pointed out that LD 11 bn go on subsidies for the public in fuel, electricity and foodstuffs.
The budget is transparent and open for inspection by all, he stressed. With regards to concerns about possible corruption within the state system in the disbursement of the budget, Zeidan said that 42 years of corruption will not be wiped away in a day or two.
However, he stressed and reassured the public that his government “tries to limit it”.
Addressing his request to the GNC for an extra budget, mainly to raise the wages of the army and police so as to attract recruits and implement security, Zeidan said that the LD 5 bn his government had requested would not be spent in one go.
Equally, he said that it would be disbursed in a transparent, documented way to those with proof of identity, addressing public concerns about continuous cases of duplication or disbursement to non-Libyans.
“There will be no corruption hopefully”, he concluded. [/restrict]