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Economy and the Presidential Council


By: Suliman S. Al-Shahomy*

The Libyan Presidential Council (PC) is sending from Tripoli, the

Suliman S. Al-Shahomy
Suliman S. Al-Shahomy

capital of all Libyans, urgent dispatches to Libyans, who “the wide land that constrained them”, and their hopes were destroyed over conflict and division, reviving some missing hopes Libyans greatly depend on to get out of the current economic crisis and daily suffering they face. Monetary liquidity is missing from banks, prices rocketed unbearably, most public services deteriorated, beside the halt of oil exports and the division of basic financial institutions, like Libyan Investment Authority, National Oil Corporation, and Central Bank of Libya, which had profound impact on the deterioration of the economic situation on the macroeconomic level, of which I repeatedly warned of.

There is no doubt that, the clear message issued by the Security Council, in its statement about Libya, supporting the Government of National Accord (GNA), warning against any dealings with parallel institutions affiliate to the House of Representatives (HoR) in the east or the General National Congress (GNC) in the west, considering both illegitimate.

The statement, follows the arrival of the Presidential Council (PC) in Tripoli, explicitly refers that the Government of National Accord (GNA) is the only entity responsible for managing Libya affairs, especially economy that directly affects citizens.

Most pressing questions now are, what can the PC and the GNA offer most Libyans? Is it able to deal with the deteriorated situation in the light of political divisions and severe regional disputes? Does it have clear vision about what should be done to restore balance to the economy, as soon as possible? will economic situation and living standards of ordinary Libyans be improved, as Libyans wish to get out of this dark tunnel that caused by previous governments and political disputes?

Optimism prevails across wide sects of Libyans, with the ability of the new government to find a way out of such deteriorated situation, which was reflected in the dramatic decline of US Dollar prices across the black market once the PC entered the capital, beside assurances provided by the PC to merchants and commercial banks that might help in attracting monetary deposits, subsequently contributing in resolving liquidity crisis.

Such assurances are important to improve the situation, but are they enough? Surely not, in the light of current severe political dispute, as the House of Representatives (HoR) hadn’t endorsed the unity government, which might drag the country into new political conflict. The bet now is that the GNA could accomplish the required economic change residents seek in east, west and south Libya. In my assessment, most important challenge facing the PC is the return of oil exports, as soon as possible, from closed ports, unite the divided financial institutions, find the prober mean to integrate all sects in the crucible of one nation.

For now, it is important to stay away from high-sounding promises, clarify the whole picture in front of Libyans, and stay away from failure policies applied by previous governments that dragged the country to the current miserable situation, especially economic level, like increasing salaries and expenditures on subsidies.

I think the most important thing they can do is to stand in the face of rampant corruption across all Libyan state institutions, control expenditures, draw new policies, and launch new and urgent reform packs to resolve collapse in public and private services.

We shouldn’t be overly optimistic, as the PC is still making its first political moves, which will be definitely difficult in the wake of current division and conflict. But in my opinion, there is a big glimmer of hope concerning economy given the international position supporting the PC regarding the ban of oil exports by any unauthorized entity except the PC. As well as, enabling the PC to manage assets and international reserves of Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) and the Central Bank of Libya (CBL).

I call all financial institutions to work away from political disputes, all institutions should work for the interest of the country and citizens before anything else.

*A Libyan Finance Expert and The Founder of Libyan Financial Market