By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 12 January 2014:
At last Wednesday’s (8th January) marathon press conference, the government’s first press conference in 2014, . . .[restrict]Transport Minister Abdelgader Ahmed rounded up his department’s activities for the previous year.
Minister Ahmed, taking up his Prime Minister’s statement that they had barely had a year in office, said that in fact the government’s time in office was only six months when considering that the budget was only passed in June and money started to be released in July 2013.
Moreover, he added that in view of what the government had to face in the way of demonstrations, in reality it has had four months in office. Despite this, his department had activated over 400 projects in this short, difficult and exceptional period, he said.
Running through the main projects, Minister Ahmed said that 12 major road projects had been resumed and 85 agricultural road projects had been activated across Libya.
A total of 150 road maintenance projects and 8 metal bridges were contracted to be built in the first quarter of 2014. He announced that 25 new road projects are being studied.
(It will be recalled that Libya Herald had reported on awarded tenders for 48 road maintenance projects in July 2013).
With regards to the government’s decentralization efforts, the Minister revealed that 10 branches of the Roads and Bridges Authority will be activated as well as 30 regional service offices and 12 regional road-service centres.
Minister Ahmed also revealed that 4 port maintenance projects at Zuwara, Sirte, Tripoli and Benghazi are underway and that there will be other tenders for the ports of Tripoli and Sirte and for maintenance tenders for the ports of Benghazi and Derna.
With regards to airports, work has resumed on Benghazi’s Benina airport in constructing a temporary terminal which will be completed in 6 months as well as work on the runway lighting, the Minister explained. Work has also resumed on 5 airports with work actually finished in some, including Tobruk, Martuba, and Kufra. Ghat airport will be opened soon, the Minister said.
An agreement has been signed with the French project management company (AdPI) for Tripoli Airport. They were reluctant, but after some pressure and work with the (French) ambassador, they finally returned to work, which should start in two weeks, explained the Minister. I hope the assessment work is done quickly and work can commence soon after, he added.
Work on the Kufra airport runway has started as well as the new runway for Tripoli airport. An agreement was signed with an Italian company, the Minister explained.
Maintenance for the tower and apron and civil defence building has also started. In Tobruk a new terminal was established and work is on-going in Labrak and Ghadames airports.
Libya will be linked soon through a modern radar system, jointly operated between the Ministry of Transport and Air Force, which will start in 2-3 months.
The Minister said that all what was needed by airports in the way of modern equipment, has been imported, including navigational equipment which helps landings at airports.
Finally, the Minister of Transport promised that by the end of the first half of 2014, the picture will change in Libya with regards to transport.
In view of the fact that during the week of this press conference the government was subject to a vote of no-confidence by the GNC, and this press conference was a defence of the government’s record since coming to office, the Minister however, failed to take any questions at the end of the press conference and allow detailed scrutiny of his record. [/restrict]