Libyan government approves 20% increase in public salaries

LIBYA’S internationally recognised government has approved a 20% raise in public sector wages, a spokesman said, boosting a key source of income for many Libyans that has been eroded by inflation.

Public salaries account for more than half of public spending in the country of 6 million, and are funded by unstable oil and gas revenues.

The decision was approved in an emergency cabinet meeting said Ghaleb Alzgalay, a spokesman for Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj who heads the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord.

A government source told Reuters in a message that the decision would put into effect a move originally decided in 2013 by a unified government, before competing factions created rival administrations in the east and west.

“The decision includes all public sectors funded by the public treasury throughout the country,” the source said.

Since an uprising in 2011, Libya’s economy has been crippled by conflict and oil production has been volatile. The central bank in Tripoli has continued to pay public salaries across the country.

Since 2014, Libya has been split, with an internationally recognized government controlling the capital, Tripoli, and the northwest, while military leader Khalifa Haftar in Benghazi rules the east. Much of Libya’s oil production was blockaded for eight months this year.

The central bank said on Tuesday that oil and gas revenues from January to November this year stood at 2.409 billion Libyan dinar ( $1.8 billion ), while 8.024 billion Libyan dinars had been spent on public wages.

The National Oil Corporation has suspended transfers of oil income to the central bank pending a political deal under a U.N.-led peace process. – Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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