Libya's central bank denies funding terrorism, says economic reform underwa

July 7, 2018

The Central Bank of Libya (CBL) has denied links to any funding of terrorists and reaffirmed that economic reforms agreed upon last month in Tunisia are underway despite hurdles caused by the current shutdown of oil ports and exports.

'Economic reform will take effect no matter what.' Said the head of research and survey department at the CBL, Naji Essa, on Thursday in a press conference in Tripoli.

Essa also said that the oil sector must be kept away from the political conflicts in Libya as it makes up 95% of the country's general budget, adding that such a shutdown of exports affects Libyans in many respects, including their monthly salaries.

'There will be troubles due to the shutdown regarding the financial measures approved by the government in the coming days, knowing that up until the end of June, we did not feel the consequences of the closure.' He explained.

He said reforms will include slapping taxes on selling foreign currencies and other reforms will affect fuel prices, saying that the CBL formed three committees to find solutions for the Libyan citizens, who will be impacted by the reforms.

Responding to the Audit Bureau's report and accusations against the CBL, the secretary of the CBL's governor, Fathi Aqoub, said they sent the official response to the Attorney General's Office, adding that the CBL is ready to be probed for the allegations.

'The Audit Bureau's report shook the inner circles of state institutions as they were not part of the making process of that report, especially the CBL, which only heard about the report on the media. This was a violation of the internal work codes as such reports should be given to the legislative authority, which is the one that can investigate such claims.' Aqoub added.

He also said that the CBL found it strange to see the Audit Bureau accusing it of manipulating letters of credit because '80% of them receive the Audit Bureau's approval.

He indicated that the Audit Bureau has violated its work authorities as it expanded its scope to interfere in the CBL's work as well as other institutions, while its own duty remains one that obliges it to file a report for the annual state expenditure and revenue, 'which did not happen for years.'

'Oil ports shall return under the control and protection of Tripoli-based National Oil Corporation and this is the first factor needed for the reforms hold and get materialized on the ground. Libya lost billions of dollars in previous shutdowns and blockades of oil exports and cannot take it anymore.' Aqoub further added.

Khalifa Haftar's command said in a statement on Wednesday that the CBL governor, Mohammed Al-Shoukri, who is appointed by the House of Representatives, shall assume office in place of Al-Siddiq Al-Kabeer in order to allow oil exportation and to reopen ports.

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