Cash-strapped Libya rebels beg for loans
Tripoli (Alshahid)-Libya’s cash-strapped rebels, facing a long and uncertain fight to recover assets frozen abroad, have called on foreign donors to back new loans using the blocked cash as collateral.
With no money to pay for salaries or imports, Mazen Ramadan, an economic advisor to the National Transitional Council (NTC), said a solution must be found to tap cash abroad, including the more than $30 billion frozen in the United States alone.
“This whole asset unfreezing thing is going to take a while,” he said from his office in Benghazi. “We are working with a lot of people but it seems like a time consuming process, and we need the money.”
“We proposed a mechanism to perhaps get loans on the frozen assets and then use this mechanism to ensure transparency.”
He did not say whether Western nations, which face major legal obstacles to releasing the frozen assets, had embraced the idea, but the European Union is said to be considering it.
Asked about the NTC’s current bank balance, Ramadan said bluntly: “We don’t have any money.”
He said salaries for past month had not yet been paid and that power shortages in the east of the country were being caused by the lack of funds.
“We think of this war here as having multiple front lines. We are on the financial front line and we are losing badly and it seems like our friends have not noticed.” (Africa Review)