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GNA uses 2 billion dinars for “emergency” war costs

The Address | Benghazi – Libya

TRIPOLI – The Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) has budgeted up to 2 billion dinars ($1.43 billion) to cover costs of a three-week-old fighting in Tripoli.

GNA’s Economy Minister, Ali Abd-al-Aziz al-Isawi told Reuters that his government estimates it will spend up to 2 billion dinars extra on medical treatment for wounded, aid for displaced people and other “emergency” war costs without new borrowing.

Issawi said GNA, which controls little territory beyond the greater capital region, would not incur new debt to fund the war costs, sticking to a plan to post a 2019 budget without a deficit.

He said this was not military spending but analysts believe that the sum will also cover expenditures such as pay for allied armed groups or food for fighters.

Issawi declined to say what parts of the budget would be trimmed to support the extra outlay for war costs.

However, with some 70 percent of the budget allocated to public wages, fuel subsidies and other welfare benefits, a portion devoted to infrastructure is most likely to be axed.

According to International Monetary Fund data, Libya’s central government debt-to-GDP ratio is 143 percent, making it one of the most heavily indebted in the world on that measure.

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