By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 17 August 2013:
Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said that all Ministries must open branches in Libya’s second city, Benghazi.
Speaking at Wednesday’s press conference, Zeidan said that these branches must be activated and must provide services in order that inhabitants of the city do not have to travel to Tripoli in order to obtain the needed services.
Zeidan also added that the Benghazi branch of the Prime Minister’s office would provide oversight over these Ministerial branches.
Before his dramatic resignation from the government two weeks ago, former Deputy Prime Minister Awad Barasi, who hails from Benghazi, was in effect in charge of Benghazi affairs for the Zeidan government.
However, Zeidan has yet to announce a replacement for Awad Barasi, leaving this strategic and sensitive position vacant.
The policy move by Zeidan to open Ministerial branches in Benghazi and in the southern city of Sebha is on the one hand a genuine attempt to provide better services to citizens all over the country – a country that is geographically widespread and where government is very paper-based and bureaucratic.
But it is also partially a move to counter the political threat of the eastern-based federalist movement which complains of being marginalized by the Tripoli government.
In reality, until the whole country progresses on a multiplicity of levels, it will be difficult to see how the opening of Ministerial offices in the cities of Benghazi and Sebha can make serious indents into the inefficient and yet-to-be-fully-rebuilt government apparatus.
Inhabitants of Tripoli, where all the bureaucracies are based, still struggle to complete their bureaucratic needs – while living on the doorsteps of these government Ministries.
The Qaddafi-era Ministerial bureaucracies were based on a different ethos of corruption and control and not on an ethos of customer-friendly efficient delivery of public services. It will therefore need deep rooted reform within these bureaucracies rather than the opening of more regional offices to achieve the efficient delivery of public services. [/restrict]