Richard Norland, the U.S. Ambassador and Special Envoy to Libya, pitched the idea of involving the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Libya’s domestic financial affairs before the upcoming general elections, well informed sources close told The Libya Update.
Norland made the suggestion in a proposal he authored, in which he set out an election plan that falls short from the UN-sponsored political roadmap that Libyan parties agreed upon.
The sources, which requested anonymity, told The Libya Update that the American envoy’s plan focuses on holding a first round of presidential elections on 24 December, along with parliamentary elections, and then a second and final round on 15 September 2022.
According to the sources, Norland acknowledged in his proposal that the budget proposed by the Government of National Unity has become an obstacle towards reaching democratic elections.
He highlighted concerns of members of Libya’s House of Representatives over the GNU’s ability to utilize the funding in a transparent manner, and he made a specific reference to the development portion of the budget, which is inflated and not reflective of a government that is only supposed to be in power until December.
The U.S. diplomat pointed out that addressing the concerns of Libya’s lawmakers may enable them to pass the budget bill. He suggested incorporating the LNA salaries into the current public sector payroll using a special mechanism for LNA ID numbers with oversight from the UN to ensure the protection and accuracy of the data. The sources said that Norland believed that such measure could be a helpful step towards unification of the country’s military institution.
The sources also told The Libya Update that Norland wants to address the financial debt accrued by commercial banks based in Libya’s eastern region by involving the IMF in the process of vetting the debt, as well as involving the international institution in the reunification of the Libyan Central Bank.
It is noteworthy that the U.N. has established an Economic Working Group, that includes the US, the EU and Egypt, whose purpose is to provide guidance and consultation for the Libyan government and parliament regarding the economic track of the peace process.