By Olfa Andolsi.
Tunis, 1 April 2017:
The sharp rise in meat prices brought out an angry crowd in Tobruk demanding a boycott of butchers until the cost is cut.
Lamb along with most other foodstuffs throughout Libya has become markedly more expensive in recent months. In Tobruk yesterday, the protestors were complaining that lamb had risen from LD 21 a kilo last year to LD 35 today.
The higher prices are a consequence of shortages, inflation and the declining value of the dinar. The World Bank reported late last year that inflation had produced a substantial loss in purchasing power.
“Lack of funds to pay due subsidies to importers and distributers of basic food since October 2015 translated into a de facto removal of subsidies to food,” said the bank. “ As a consequence, shortages in the supply of food emerged and the black markets prospered, which led prices of food to increase by 31 percent in the first half of 2016”.
It calculated that inflation in Libya had jumped to 24 percent and estimated it would average 20 percent during 2016.
Given the continuing shortage of currency at the banks and the continuing depreciation of the dinar against the dollar and the euro, it seems clear there has been no let-up in the falling value of household incomes.
With the current difficulties in obtaining hard currency at the official rate, most food importers are obliged to use the black market to source funding.