The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Trade and Industry received a number of complaints from Egyptian companies working in Libya concerning arrears due to the instability Libya is currently facing, an official source at the ministry told Al-Masry Al-Youm.
The source said that a committee headed by Saeed Abdallah, head of the ministry’s trade agreements sector, had been formed and that it includes the Ministries of Finance, Manpower, Immigration, and Foreign Affairs, which will be responsible for receiving complaints from the companies as a prelude to recovering their rights.
He noted that the committee had held its first meeting in April to discuss the possibility of recovering the late dues, pointing out that another meeting will be scheduled soon in order to determine the procedures and mechanisms that will be used to recover the funds, and to determine the documents needed by the companies to prove their rights. He went on to say the Egyptian side would coordinate its efforts with the Libyan side in order to recover the funds and that Egyptian companies with Libyan bank accounts will be top priority.
He said the companies work in the fields of construction, land reclamation, oil and electricity ventures and engineering consultation.
Head of the Libyan-Egyptian Business Council Nasser Bayan said the Libyan side was not opposed to the payment of debts, but that there were problems with funding, especially in light of the low cash flow from oil revenues.
He pointed out that it had not yet been determined how much was owed, saying that a large portion of the funds were owed to individuals rather than companies and major corporations.
Concerning the recovery of these funds, Bayan said that those entitled to the funds should resort to the embassy, and then travel to meet with the Libyan side to prove their right to the money. He noted that the Egyptian Ministry of Manpower is responsible for the recovery of these funds.
Bayan went on to say that “Egypt will have the largest share in the reconstruction of Libya,” calling on all Egyptian companies to submit reasonable and competitive offers in order to win the largest share of projects in light of the competition from Turkish, German and a number of European companies attempting to monopolize the Libyan market.
Chairman of the Burj al-Arab Investors Association Mohamed Farag Amer said that Libyan trade dealings have decline to nearly 40 percent of the normal rates, adding that the recent events in Libya had an impact on the trade rate between the two countries.
Meanwhile, head of the Egyptian Businessmen's Association Hussein Sabour said the Libyan market is of great importance, pointing out that the Arab-Turkish conference will be held in Libya on 8 May in order to increase the participation of Egyptian and Turkish industries in the reconstruction of Libya.
Sabour said that some US$250 million worth of projects can be implemented in Libya.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm