By Adam Nathan.
Libya’s Deputy Prime Minister has called for foreign companies to come back to Libya and work on key infrastructure and “quick win” projects with the new government in Tripoli.
In an interview with Libya Business News, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteeg (pictured), a businessman politician from Misrata and key figure in the Government of National Accord (GNA), said that foreign companies would be needed in the oil and gas, electrical power, transport and housing sectors in coming months.
“A lot of investors know that there is a big opportunity in Libya,” said Maiteeg from his offices in Tripoli, where he is leading government efforts on the economy. “We have a lot of projects going on in Libya and I believe we can have these started in a few months.”
Maiteeg added: “The government is choosing projects for quick wins to show Libyan people that this government works and these quick wins could be a very good investment opportunity. We are talking about airports, we are talking about highways, and some of these projects we could change from public sector to private sector, such as housing.”
Mr. Maiteeg made it clear that his government was for the whole country and he would be pushing for investment in eastern cities such as Benghazi. “It is important to show that we are the government of east as well as west,” he said.
Some of the proposed 'quick win' projects include a new ring road around the capital Tripoli; the airports in Tripoli and Benghazi; a public metro system for Tripoli and Benghazi; the restructuring of the health, education and local government ministries and their assets; and the conversion of half-built public sector housing assets to the private sector.
Maiteeg is overseeing a new style of public-private partnership for the country, between local investment authorities under the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) and foreign investors. There is also the potential for 'build-operate-transfer' (BOT) projects.
“We are looking at restructuring some of Ministries such as the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Local Government – and this can also be a very good investment,” said Maiteeg. “We are looking to rebuild our understanding of public projects.”
The government is also looking to boost production in the oil sector, which accounts for 97 percent of the government income, to a sustainable level of about one million barrels a day.
“We have to keep the flow at this level and this can be difficult,” said Maiteeg. “This is why we have to invest in our oil industry infrastructure and this is another area where there can be a lot of opportunity for foreign businesses. The British, Europeans and Americans are focused on investing into our oil sector because they know the capacity of Libya oil, which is very easy to extract and of high quality, to be exported into Europe. And we will be opening that sector for investment in the near future.”
Adam can be contacted at [email protected] and +44 7900 783662.