The government of Prime Minister-designate Fathi Bashagha has accused the National Oil Corporation (NOC) of political interference following the latter’s decision to transfer at least six billion U.S. dollars to the his rival government, led by Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh.
State media affiliated with Dbeibeh’s government announced last Thursday NOC will deposit the amount in two installments to the Ministry of Finance’s bank account at the Central Bank of Libya (CBL). The announcement came one day after Dbeibeh unveiled a plan to develop the oil and gas sector.
In a statement released today, Bashagha’s Ministry of Finance alluded that the NOC move is illegal as it violates regulations made by the House of Representatives regarding the national budget budget. The Bashagha-affiliated ministry said it holds NOC accountable for any repercussions of this decision. It went to on to say that the state-owned oil company “should have distanced itself from political conflicts or making gains for any political party”.
Prior to the U.N.-backed political agreement in 2020 which paved the way for Dbeibeh’s rise to power, the NOC and CBL were at odds over the bank’s accusation of data misrepresentation against the oil company.
The dispute led to NOC decision to deposit oil revenues at the company’s bank accounts at the Libyan Foreign Bank as a “temporary procedure until a comprehensive political settlement is reached of which the most important outcomes shall be the fair use of the revenues among all Libyan cities and towns,” according to statement by NOC in November 2020.
However, following the formation of a unity government led by Dbeibeh in March 2021, the NOC announced an end to this arrangement.