By Sami Zaptia.
London, 20 May 2021:
Libya’s parliament (the House of Representatives-HoR) announced yesterday that it is to hold an official session next Monday (24 May) in Tobruk.
It said the session will discuss the draft 2021 budget and Sovereign Positions.
Original budget rejected with numerous amendments
It will be recalled that the initial LD 96 billion 2021 budget proposed by prime minister Abd Alhamid Aldabaiba’s Government of National Unity (GNU) to parliament on 17 March had been rejected. The government then returned an amended version to parliament on 2 May.
The five sections of the budget were:
- State-sector salaries – LD 33 bn
- Operational spending – LD 12 bn
- Projects and Development – LD 22 bn
- Subsidies – 24 bn
- Emergency budget – 5 bn
The projected sources for this budget were:
- Oil and gas revenues – 89 bn
- Non-oil revenues – 3.9 bn
Main reasons for rejection
The main reasons for its rejection were:
- The budget was too big for the governments short term in office of 9 months.
- The government has no time for medium/long term projects.
- The state has no strong monitoring institutions.
- Susceptible to corruption.
- Government should be realistic and concentrated efforts effectively by acting as a short-term, crisis management government concentrating on preparing for elections, fighting the pandemic, solving the electricity crisis and maybe the cash crises.
- The budget was amended to consider more ministries under the current government.
- Critics of parliament say it was delayed as leverage to influence the prime minister’s choice of Deputy Ministers.
However, whilst these were the main announced reasons for the rejection of the 2021 budget, analysts suspect that parliament also rejected the budget for political reasons. They say it was using the budget as leverage to obtain concessions from government, including on the ongoing appointment of Deputy Ministers.