Libyan govt boosts oil sector pay by 67 pct in bid to defuse crisis
LONDON Oct 31 (Reuters) - Libya's government has ordered a 67 percent increase in pay for employees of the state oil sector, in an apparent effort to defuse three months of strikes and unrest that have reduced the country's crude oil exports to a trickle.
Libya's National Oil Corp (NOC) said in a statement on its website on Thursday that the pay rise would take effect from the start of 2014.
A copy of the government decree authorising the increase was dated Oct. 27, the day protesters closed the western ports of Zawiya and Mellitah.
Most eastern oil export facilities have been closed since July and the government had relied on exports from those western ports in recent weeks.
Strikes and protests by militias, workers and minorities demanding more political rights, jobs or better pay have reduced Libya's exports to 150,000-200,000 barrels a day, little more than 10 percent of capacity.
Libyans had high hopes for a better standard of living after the 2011 revolt that ousted Muammar Gaddafi, but the government has struggled to satisfy expectations.
The government's decision to boost pay comes a day after embattled Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said it would build two oil refineries in the underdeveloped east and south to create jobs and address regional grievances.
Accounting firm KPMG has forecast Libya's consumer price inflation at a modest 3.3 percent this year due to the base effects of big price rises during the war in 2011. Still, it has warned that sharp increases in public spending will put upward pressure on inflation. (Reporting by Lin Noueihed; editing by Jason Neely)
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