BusinessLibya

Economic reforms harm Libya’s sole vehicle assembly plant

The Trucks and Bus Company (TBCo) in Tripoli was negatively affected by the 183% fee imposed recently on foreign currency transactions as its vehicle assembly plant relies on imported components.

The decision comes among a group of economic reforms adopted last year in Libya but it actually added to the burden of TBCo that has been trying to revive its vehicle assembly lines after five-year closure.

The factory was reopened in May 2017 with the support of the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA).

TBCo, a joint-venture between the Italian Industrial Vehicles Corporation (IVECO) and the Libyan Secretariat of Industry and Mineral Resources, was founded in 1976 with its head office in Tajura, north-western Libya. In late 2011, the company was closed by the provisional government after the Libyan Civil War.

Before 2011, the plant used to produce about 5,000 trucks annually with an average of 13 trucks per day, but now the production capacity has fallen to only eight trucks per month.

The number of workers in the plant has fallen from 1,000 to 300, losing 70% of its labor force.

Moreover, TBCo became also unable to supply spare parts in the local market due to the huge influx of imported trucks and vehicles, which are difficult to compete with; especially as the price difference between local and imported trucks is very low.

In a previous statement, the Chairman of Libya Businessmen Council, Abdalla Fellah, said Libya’s industry and private sector is stymied by a lack of diversity and competitiveness, not only as a result of the chaos which ensued after the toppling of long-ruling dictator Muammar Qaddafi, but also due to Libya’s decades as a state-dominated economy.

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