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Africa
Libya delays Gaddafi oil plan
Politicians shelve plan aimed at distributing oil revenues directly to people.
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2009 21:30 GMT
The General Public Congress met at Gaddafi's
home town of Sirte on Tuesday
 

Libya's executive and legislative bodies have voted to delay an oil distribution scheme of Muammar Gaddafi, the state news agency Jana has reported.

The Libyan leader, who has advocated handing out oil revenues directly to the people to beat endemic corruption in the government, would have distributed about $32bn this year alone.

The results of the vote were announced at a meeting of the General Public Congress (GPC) at Gaddafi's home town, Sirte, on Tuesday.

Only 64 of the 468 Basic People Congresses (LBPCs), or municipalities, voted for Gaddafi's plan to hand out the money now, while 251 endorsed the plan in principle "but asked for [it] to be delayed until appropriate measures were put in place".

Of the country's five million people, about one million of the poorest could receive up to 30,000 dinars ($22,990) a year each if the initial plan was endorsed, according to government estimates debated at LBPC meetings.

Libyans would forfeit their right to medical services and other traditional public services in return for a share of oil revenues.

Dissident view

The vote to postpone Gaddafi's plan will block further discussions on the distribution of oil money for several months at least.

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Libyan leader's oil wealth distribution plan shelved

Various factions in the LBPC will now have time to reach a consensus that commentators say will curb the leader's eagerness to plug the wealth gap between the poor majority of the country and the rich, who many Libyans say monopolise power and money.

LBPCs are Libya's most senior executive and legislative bodies, which vote on laws and government policy. In practice, however, Gaddafi formulates the key policies.

Libyan dissidents wrote in comments posted on the internet that, even if the voters approved the scheme, Gaddafi's plan would not work because government corruption would always prevent a fair distribution of the country's oil wealth.

"None of this will ever happen," one Libyan in Sirte told Al Jazeera. "This is a lie."

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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