By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 23 October 2014:
The Libyan 2014 budget was finally approved by the House of Representatives (HoR) during its . . .[restrict]evening session yesterday just nine months after it was originally presented to the former General National Congress by the then prime minister Ali Zeidan.
In June, after much argument, Congress approved a watered down budget of LD 56.5 billion, just before its term ended. However, the Central Bank of Libya then refused to disburse the funds to the Thinni government, challenging its legality.
Yesterday, the budget approved by the HoR was set at LD 53.2 billion, almost the same as that requested by Zeidan in February.
“One hundred and twenty-seven members voted to approve it,” HoR member of Benghazi Aisa Al-Araibi told the Libya Herald.” The HoR had, however, made some amendments to the government’ proposals, having taken into consideration the fact that oil sales had been frozen for months because of the blockade on the oil terminals.
Al-Araibi added that the budget had been approved by all finacial institutions of the country “including the Libyan Central Bank and the Audit Bureau”.
For his part, Abdulsalam Nassiya (Zintan), a member of the HoR’s Finance Committee, said that the Finance Ministry could now legally make all the financial disbursements that had previously been blocked.
It remains to be see, however, if the budgeted funds are handed over by the Central Bank to the various ministries and government bodies.
The HoR sacked Saddek Elkaber as chairman of the CBL last month, replacing him with his deputy Ali Salem Hibri, but he has refused to go, claiming, somewhat surprisingly, that the HoR does not have the right to do so. Although he is based much of the time in Malta, the CBL in Tripoli is thought to still under his control.
The CBL that has approved the budget, however, is the one under Hibri but setting up a working parallel Central Bank structure in Beida or elsewhere that has access to Libya’s large treasury abroad is not something that can be done quickly.
Meanwhile Nuri Abu Sahmain wants to give a budget to Omar Al-Hassi’s anti-government in Tripoli. His rump Congress – reportedly all 18 of them – similarly discussed their plans yesterday. [/restrict]