Parliament approves first chapter of budget, rejects the rest a second time

Libya's House of Representatives held a session to discuss and vote on the GNU's proposed budget, with members raising numerous objections to the 93 billion dinar budget

Parliament rejected the first draft budget on 20 April, returning it to the Prime Minister for revision and amendment. [Photo: HoR]
Libya’s House of Representatives (HoR) held a consultative session in Tobruk yesterday to discuss and vote on the proposed national budget of the Government of National Unity (GNU) in the run-up to the December elections later this year.

The meeting was chaired by Speaker of the House Aguila Saleh, and was attended by First Deputy Fawzi Al-Nuyeri and Second Deputy Dr. Ahmid Hameem, as well as around 100 members of the house.

Members of parliament expressed several reservations and objections to the budget during the discussion, particularly that the budget remained excessively large at 93 billion dinars for a government with a 10-month term.

They felt specifically that the budget’s projects/development section was too large to be responsibly used by December. Additionally, they required additional information about planned projects and clarification as to whether these were existing or new projects.

Members opted to only accept the first chapter of the budget, which deals with public pay, for a total of 34.6 billion Libyan dinars.

According to some members, parliament should only approve the budget’s salaries, operations, and subsidies.

Additionally, they stated that voting on sovereign positions should take place prior to the national budget in order to establish monitoring and oversight institutions to oversee budget spending and protect funds from corruption, as had occurred in previous governments.

There were criticisms that the budget lacked sufficient detail/spending breakdowns on how money will be spent in general – beyond broad headlines.

Several members expressed disappointment that the government did not incorporate the objections, comments, and inputs contained in the previous report accompanying the initially proposed budget.

Other members objected to being informed of the budget only a day before the session, implying that they were not given adequate time to study and scrutinize it prior to the vote.

Members claimed that it was parliament’s function and obligation to scrutinize the government’s activity and preserve public finances, in response to the continuous narrative that the house was deliberately delaying and stalling the budget’s passage.

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