By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 3 February 2014:
At a conference on the Libyan air transport sector held in Tripoli on Sunday , Deputy . . .[restrict]Minister for Air Transport Mohamed Al-Nimer said that “creating a transport sector full of investment opportunities in Libya is going to be a challenge”.
“There needs to be strong and successful management to take advantage of the opportunities that Libya offers. Libya has a strategic position in the middle of the Mediterranean and is located midpoint between industrial Europe and the raw material source of Africa. Libya’s large geographic spread makes it ideal for air transport” the Deputy Minister added.
However, Al-Nimer was realistic about the challenge his sector faces.”The challenges facing Libya are real” he said, highlighting “security and the spread of arms” as one of the major obstacles to short term progress. “This is more serious for air transport”, he added, saying that security affects other services needed by the sector.
“Today Libya has numerous airports, planes, air transport companies”, the Deputy Minister, said, but that other challenges such as the lack of competition, human resource issues, and strikes have hampered progress” in the sector.
Speaking for the private sector, on the other hand, leading businessman Hunsi Bey said that the private sector was the only way forward for the development of Libya’s air transport sector. Bey said that the public aviation sector had failed in the developed world and would therefore not succeed in Libya either.
Bey stressed that all the private sector needed was for the state to vacate the business field and allow the private sector to operate freely. With regards to the future expansion of the ibyan air transport sector, Bey was adamant that it came from the private sector. Only the private sector could be competitive, efficient and able to introduce the necessary new technology that the sector needed.
With regards to raising standards and human resource development within the sector, Bey said that this too should be eft for the private sector. Bey advised against sending all trainees abroad, but insisted on privately owned institutes being established locally.
Bey said that the private sector in Libya was still relatively small, contributing about 15% to GDP, whereas the world average was about 40%. Bey said that the new post February 17th Libyan regime had to support the private sector to grow.
Bey was very optimistic about the potential for growth in Libya’s aviation sector, saying that passenger and cargo traffic should double as per international forecasts every 8 years. However, this growth should be private sector led, and not channeled through the failed state-sector.
It will be recalled that last week a seminar was organised by the Tripoli Chamber of Commerce on the transport sector. [/restrict]