March 18, 2019 / 5:31 PM / a month ago

Libya agrees $34 billion budget for 2019 after months of disputes

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya’s U.N.-backed administration agreed with the central bank and other players on a 2019 budget worth 46.8 billion dinars ($33.83 billion), it said on Monday after months of arguments.

The “financial arrangements”, as the budget is called officially, mark an increase from last year’s 42 billion dinars.

Libya has no proper budget as authority is divided between the U.N.-backed Tripoli government and a parallel administration allied to the internationally recognized parliament in the east, part of a conflict since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The central bank therefore agrees with Tripoli - with the tacit agreement of authorities in the east mediated by Western powers and international institutions — on a budget mainly covering public salaries and fuel subsidies for the whole country.

The Tripoli government and the central bank had been arguing over how to use funds raised by a 183 per cent fees slapped on hard currency transactions since autumn. 

The fees are aimed at bridging a gap between official and black market rate by moving the official rate to effectively 3.9 versus one dollar. Before it was 1.4.

The black market rate has fallen since then to around 4.1 from 6.

“After extensive discussion a total value of the financial arrangements (of) 46.8 billion dinars was agreed upon,” the government said in a short statement. It gave no details.

Reporting by Ahmed ElumamiEditing by Ulf Laessing, William Maclean

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