By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 18 October 2014:
Asked as to who is in control of Libya’s oil revenues, Prime Minister Abdullah Thinni said, . . .[restrict]confidently, that his “legitimate” government did.
“The oil (export) revenues are remitted (by foreign buyers) in full to the Libyan Foreign Bank (LFB) and then transferred to the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) and from there the money is disbursed (as per the legally agreed budget) to the Ministry of Finance”, the Prime Minister further assured his interviewer.
Thinni was speaking yesterday during an in-depth interview on the newly re-launched state TV channel Al-Wataniya.
“The oil revenues are under the control of the Libyan state and the legitimate government born out of the Libyan parliament”, added the Prime Minister emphatically.
“We faced this problem since taking up the government and there was objection to the solution of the payment of the salaries to the Petroleum Facilities Guards (PFG)”, Thinni said, referring to the re-occurring problem of strikes and stoppages at oil installations.
“We adopted this solution. In fact, there was much cooperation and we paid the salaries of about LD 100 million, and the remaining LD 72 million are being processed until the adoption of the budget”, Thinni explained, referring to the lengthy oil stoppage that was started in 2013 by the Jadran Federalists.
Referring to the recent increase in Libya’s oil production from a low of about 200,000 bpd since the end of almost all of the oil related stoppages, Thinni revealed that “Oil production rates reached more than 800,000 bpd and cash receipts for the month of August were about LD one billion”.
“We did not achieve LD 800 million (per month) since before the (Jadran Federalist) disturbances that occurred in the ports areas (in August 2013)”, he enthused.
It is worth noting, however, that despite Prime Minister Thinni’s claims that his government had full control over oil revenues, there currently exists a split between the legitimate government of Thinni and the CBL Governor Saddek Elkaber. The split led to the HoR sacking the CBL Governor who is currently appealing the sacking.
Meanwhile, the governor had frozen all disbursements to the Thinni government save for wages. Parto f this move was as a result of the overspending by the transitional parliaments and their governments and partly because of the existence of two sets of Prime Ministers, parliaments and governments currently contesting legitimacy in Libya following the 25 June 2014 elections.