On 9 March, the European Union hosted in Brussels a meeting of Libyan businessmen from all across the country. This event was a Libyan initiative supported by the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), the European Union and the World Bank.
Participants discussed a variety of issues of relevance for the economic recovery and development of Libya, including: macro-fiscal sustainability, public financial management, private sector development, challenges and priorities, Islamic finance, local development and self-financing and public private partnerships.
They shared their concerns over the grave fiscal, budgetary and economic situation in Libya. They also underlined the urgency of a peaceful resolution for the current conflict and stressed the importance of a secure and stable environment, without which there can be no sustainable economic development.
The participants decided to establish 'The Libyan Union for Libyan Businessmen' (ARAL), and adopted the following statement:
"Due to the current circumstances our beloved country is going through, which could result in the total collapse of the country, and as a result of the continued fighting as well as the political differences; the situation is becoming a clear phenomenon to all Libyans and the possibility of a divided country.
With the facilitation of the European Union, UNSMIL and the World Bank, the Libyan businessmen council are gathered to study, analyse and discuss the economic situation of Libya as well as the existing armed conflicts and ongoing terrorism.
The Libyan businessman council have an important role to play in helping prevent the imminent collapse and bankruptcy of Libya.
We therefore recommend the following:
- The support of national dialogue facilitated by the UN to reach a national unity government.
- We invite all participants in the dialogue to adhere to a patriotic stand with Libyans in putting our Libya above personal and regional affairs. We invite participants to have discussions to form a national unity government. Discussions include and relate to forming political processes, finalisation of the Constitution and a program to establish a permanent and stable political situation.
- We call for the immediate establishment of a country governed by law and institutions capable to deliver the ambitions of the Libyan people. We call for full transparency, throughout all financial and administrate institutions, resulting in viable budgets that are based on sound economical grounds which fulfill the needs of the local Libyans. Furthermore the introduction of the legislation governing the exchange rate must be achieved.
- This council calls engagement to the private sector to seriously participate in the development equal to that of the public sector. Furthermore this council calls for the inclusion of the private sector decision making process specifically relating to all economic aspects of the country for the country. This council of businessmen has a vast wealth of experience that should be included.
- To ensure the private sector enjoys the benefits provided through the various international agreements and schemes signed with those bodies and governments.
- The attendants declare their intention to form a new body that gathers Libyan businessmen under the title 'The Libyan Union for Libyan Businessmen' (ARAL)
The participants in this body will be done on a personal basis and in accordance to the articles of association.
All the attendants have come to a series of economical solutions to ease the existing situation:
- Lifting of all the subsidies on food products and fuel and replacing it with monetary support. Distributed equally to all citizens to lower public spending.
- To pay public salaries through the wage of the national ID number and associating it with the private sectors.
- Extending the use of commercial banking alongside Islamic banking for a period of not less than 5 years. With the restriction of prohibition of using more than one system of banking.
- The transfer of the ownership of banks owned by the central bank to the treasury. The main tasks of the central bank should be limited to monitoring and governing.
- The transfer of ownership of public companies from the various ministries and boards to the treasury. Such companies should not be subsidised and support through public funds. Furthermore they should be treated in accordance to the Libyan laws that govern companies.
- Owners of lands and properties confiscated by the government should be entered as partners in the projects made on their land in accordance to the value of their land or property.
- Fast tracking the procedures for a businessman inside or outside the country and the provision of the necessary protection
- The call for cease fire and the engagement in social dialogue
- Denouncing all kinds of terrorism and extremism"