Libyans await raise in public sector salaries amid fears of repercussions

Public sector employees are awaiting the results of the ministerial committee formed to prepare a unified salary schedule in the Libyan state, whose mission ended on Sunday, after 60 days of work, according to the deadline specified in the decision to establish it.

On Saturday, the Prime Minister instructed the Minister of Finance to refer the results of the work of the committee he chairs to study and approve what it concluded, before referring it to the House of Representatives for approval.

The issue of estimating and distributing salaries to public office holders whose vision is set by the committee is a complex issue, due to the great disparity and the clear absence of social justice, which prompted some sectors to organize sit-ins to demand better wages.

Some authorities and departments that do not follow the executive authority have succeeded in organizing record increases for their salaries and financial benefits, through special laws approved by the legislative authority, which granted them immunity and a special legal status that escaped them from Law No. 15 of 1981, regarding the salary system for national workers such as the Audit Bureau, the HoR and the High Council of Judicial Bodies, which enjoyed salaries and financial benefits that exceeded ten times the minimum wage in the country, despite the understandings that led some of these bodies to reduce their salaries by 20%, after the escalation of people’s anger over the record disparities in salaries.

The salary scale, if approved by the Council of Ministers, needs to be passed by the House of Representatives, as the government’s task is limited to preparing the proposal, while its adoption depends on the approval of the legislative authority represented in the House of Representatives, whose relationship with the government is experiencing remarkable tension, after the decision to withdraw confidence and what followed. obstructing the adoption of the general budget.

Observers fear the high bill for salaries in the state’s general budget, as last year it recorded 57% of the budget, while this year it was inflated due to financial releases and the unification of institutions that added additional numbers of employees to the public sectors, as the Audit Bureau reported that the number of employees in the state’s administrative units It reached 2,362,756 people, representing 37% of the country’s total population, which means the erosion of the development item and the decrease in its allocations in favor of the rise in salaries and operating expenses for the bloated sectors.

The Prime Minister issued a decision in which he raised the salaries of public education sector employees, where the rate of increase was almost 100%, which was covered by the government by deducting two billion and 250 million dinars from the chapter of support in light of the legal restriction that limits government spending to the 1/12 system, where the government can bring about drastic changes in the general budget, except to the extent specified in last year’s allocations.

Economists questioned the feasibility of raising government salaries in light of the low exchange rate of the Libyan dinar against the US dollar, which the Central Bank set at about 4.48, as changing the exchange rate led to providing financial income from the local currency and alleviating the impact of the liquidity crisis, but it exacerbated the crisis of high prices as a result of the increase in the bill of imports in hard currency, in addition to the shaking of the strength of the dinar, which will continue to decline as a result of the government’s efforts to pay the high salary bill, and resorting to the continued devaluation of the dinar or raising the level of the already inflated public debt.

It is worth noting that economists and international financial institutions called on Libya to restructure the Libyan economy and involve the private sector in development to reduce the inflation of public sector employees, which is the only source of employment in Libya with high rates of corruption and waste of public money.

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