Italian business presses Rome government for support over 2011 Libya losses

By Libya Herald reporter.

Tunis, 25 May 2017:

The Italian-Libyan Chamber of Commerce says that it is now hopeful that the Italian government is looking sympathetically to calls for it to help companies suffering as a result of unpaid bills following the 2011 Libyan revolution.

This follows talks last Friday between its president, GianFranco Damiano, and Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano on the current situation in Libya.

Italian companies are owed around €650 million from pre-2011 contracts, the chamber says, to which must be added €15 million for damages and destruction during the revolution. In addition, there is a further €240 million in outstanding bills from the 1990s.

Some 150 companies have been affected by Libyan non-payment, it notes, saying it has been calling on the government in Rome to address the issue for some considerable time. It points out that given the continuing crisis in Libya the companies have been unable to pursue claims there.

It notes, too, that in a survey it carried out of 20 companies which had been active Libya prior to the revolution, 16 were still owed €100 million since 2011, three were in receivership as a result of losses, and one had been forced to close altogether with the loss of 200 jobs.

Some Italian companies were continuing to provide services and supplies to Libya but for many the situation had become unsustainable, Damiano said. As a result, many would not be able to bounce back and undertake business in Libya when it finally settles down.

He said, however, that following his meeting with Alfano he is now optimistic that the Italian government was now sympathetic to the companies’ plight and their need to recover the monies’ owed to them.

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