Tuesday, January 30, 2007

NY Times: 400,000 of Libyan Govt Labor Force to be Laid Off

Comments to follow. Initial thoughts are where is the NY Times getting info from and what the hell is going on and how much will this impact the Libyan economy and are loans what people really need? Also, have the Libyan people really been living off petrolium? Because I kinda think our standard of living is much different than other comparable oil producing countries and standards of living.. like, say, Kuwait.

Don't get me wrong--yes, Libya has universal health care and a lot of basic living needs are subsidized. I just can't help but wonder whether if less was spent on soccer clubs and designer sun-glasses and sending the children of comrades to reknowned universities, that maybe the pot-holes of the streets of Tripoli might be taken care of. I also wonder about the second/third phase of the brain drain as it's happening right now.

I don't think that government employment is the answer. But it was an economic policy, which means that people came to rely on it as somewhat of a right. And, like the US labor force and outsourcing, I'm not sure that these decisions do so well at helping people deal with the reality of economic liberalization and globalization.

C'est la vie, I suppose. I just don't really like it.

More notes soon.

Libya Says It Will Lay Off 400,000
Published: January 22, 2007

The Libyan government plans to lay off 400,000 people, or more than a third of its work force, to try to ease budget pressures and stimulate the private sector, Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi told Parliament on Saturday.

Mr. Mahmoudi said that the number of civil servants and state employees had grown excessively in recent years, to more than a million, and that their total salaries cost the government more than $3 billion in 2006.

Outlining a $25.3 billion draft budget for 2007 at the meeting, in the town of Sirte, Mr. Mahmoudi said those who lost their jobs would receive assistance.

Each public employee who is laid off will be given a full salary for three years or will be granted up to $40,800 in loans to start a business, he said in his speech, which was broadcast on national television.

''The objectives of this budget are to increase Libyans' standard of living by 5 percent during this year and to promote productive activities,'' he said, without elaborating.

Mr. Mahmoudi added that he wanted to improve health and education and encourage the private sector to make manufactured goods of sufficient quality to compete with imports.
The Libyan leader, Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi, has frequently said that his nation of five million people, a member of OPEC, depends too heavily on its income from oil, which is the source of almost all of Libya's hard currency earnings.

He has also said Libyans are too dependent on foreigners and imports of consumer goods. Colonel Qaddafi has said he intends to move toward economic self-reliance and to make changes that will support the private sector in an effort to reduce unemployment, now at least 13 percent.