By Sami Zaptia.
London, 30 October 2018:
Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) chairman, Mustafa Sanalla, sought to persuade the Tripoli Central Bank of Libya (CBL) Governor, Saddek El-Kaber, that the NOC needs a larger 2019 budget allocation.
Sanalla reviewed his 2019 budget request with El-Kaber at a meeting on Sunday where he stressed the need for a larger NOC investment budget.
This was especially so in view of the damage suffered by many oil installations as a result of fighting and wear and tear.
Sanalla highlighted the direct link and return from an increased NOC investment budget on Libyan state coffers. This would also reflect positively on the Libyan economy especially as the NOC managed to increase oil production to 1.25 million barrels per day despite all the difficult conditions.
Sanalla also requested that salaries for the sector be increased by 67 percent in the 2019 budget as prescribed by the suspended 2013 decree (no. 642).
Justifying his demand for better pay and conditions for his sector, Sanalla asserted that in his view, oil sector employees hold a strategic role in increasing oil production and the nation’s revenues through their priceless sacrifices in difficult conditions.
Sanalla also discussed the Libyan dinar’s exchange rate and its impact on the oil sector operations, production, refining, manufacturing and services.
In turn, the Tripoli CBL Governor expressed the CBL’s support for the NOC as it is the the only source of income and the main financier of Libya’s public budget.
He stressed the continued provision of all possible support by the CBL to the NOC in order to overcome the difficulties that it faces and to enhance its technical capacity and to improve its productive efficiency.
It will be recalled that Sanalla has been engaged in a tug-of-war for a number of years with both El-Kaber and Faiez Serraj in an attempt to increase the NOC budget.
It is noteworthy that at this meeting Sanalla was trying to persuade the Tripoli CBL Governor rather than the head of Libya’s executive, Faiez Serraj, for a larger 2019 budget.
This gives further credance to widely held belief that the Tripoli CBL Governor is the man with his hands on the Libyan state’s purse strings.
Nevertheless, El-Kaber will be equally as keen for the NOC to increase its oil production and the Libyan state’s revenues in order to reduce Libya’s recurring annual budget deficits and save the CBL’s decreasing foreign currency reserves.