Libya then and now- a response
This article was posted by a gentleman by the name of Brian Emslie. This article is grossly inaccurate right from its title. It does not take an expert in economics to see that in practice almost everything on this article is impossible and unaffordable economically. The writer’s laziness in researching his article is the worst of all. He even has the audacity of calling these claims FACTS.
The reason why I took it upon myself to debunk this article is because I used to follow the happenings in Libya just after the revolution started. I remember when the rebels where taking over Gadhafi’s native village the issue of land ownership came up. It was reported by the Libyan expats that Gaddafi used to award his ethic compatriots with land at the expense of the ethnic minorities.
Now back to the topic at hand.
I will now debunk these inaccuracies point by point. Please feel free to read for yourself on the link below the source about these untruths passed on as Facts.
1There is no electricity bill in Libya; electricity is free for all its citizens.
Categorically untrue. Despite poor electricity infrastructure and poor coverage of electricity lines, even in the Capital, Libyan home owners pay monthly/quarterly (area dependant) electricity bills based on meter readings. Electricity is cut off in instances of unpaid bills. Reconnection upon payment is not instant. The electric infrastructure is week and some areas of Libya do not have electricity available at all.
2There is no interest on loans, banks in Libya are state-owned and loans given to all its citizens at zero percent interest by law.
Categorically untrue. Banks all over Libya have been giving out loans for years and years. There is a percentage rate charge on all loans, which is comparable to an interest rate, but in the spirit of ‘islamic ethics’ it is not called interest, it is called an ‘Administrative Expense’
3Having a home considered a human right in Libya.
Gaddafi vowed that his parents would not get a house until everyone in Libya had a home. Gaddafi¹s father has died while he, his wife and his mother are still living in a tent. Well Gaddafi abused this human right as much as he did other basic rights. It is well known in Libya that political opponents, or just successful business men/women, had their homes confiscated and handed over to regime members, usually rewards for Free Officers
4. All newlyweds in Libya receive $60,000 dinar (U.S.$50,000) by the government to buy their first apartment so to help start up the family.
This is a well-known rumour and a common joke in Libya. Whilst it may have been passed as official legislation, I don’t know even a single family who has been given this grant. The backbreaking bureaucracy associated with such grants and loans make them more or less impossible to obtain.
5. Education and medical treatments are free in Libya. Before Gaddafi only 25 percent of Libyans were literate. Today, the figure is 83 percent.
Education and Health Care – Free does not mean adequate. It is well known that Libya’s standard of health care is nothing short of appalling. It is widely known that the majority of Libyans seeking medical care leave for neighbouring countries for treatment. Our Education system is no better. It is outdated, teachers are underpaid and under-trained and libraries are largely non-existent. The syllabus was constantly being revised and reviewed under direct instruction from the former regime e.g. banning English, changing Quranic verses, etc.It is commonly said that Libyans would be happy to forfeit their ‘free health care’ and pay for a National Health Service if it was up to the required standard.
6. Should Libyans want to take up farming career, they would receive farming land, a farming house, equipment, seeds and livestock to kick start their farms are all for free.
This has never happened, in addition to this many farms and homes have been confiscated by the government to build railroads, The Great Man Made River and civil roads. The owners of the land were only compensated if there was a covered structure on the land as the Gaddafi regime legally owned any land and the people were only allowed to build on it. When there was compensation offered it was nowhere near the actual value of the property and many waited years to receive anything if at all. This system was also rife with corruption many residents told they had to pay a bribe to receive what little they were given.
7. If Libyans cannot find the education or medical facilities they need, the government funds them to go abroad, for it is not only paid for, but they get a U.S.$2,300/month for accommodation and car allowance
Categorically untrue. If this was the case, the former regime would have been in receipt of 6 million application forms – one for every man, women and child who ‘cannot find education or medical facilities they need’. This grant does not exist for the mainstream public. There is anecdotal evidence of some medical grants being given
8.If a Libyan buys a car, the government subsidizes 50 percent of the price.
9.The price of petrol in Libya is is $0.14 per liter.
There is no truth to the former Gaddafi regime paying 50% of the value of a new car. Whilst the price of fuel is indeed cheap, the quality of roads, the accuracy and availability of road signs, the presence of road traffic police, and all other transport infrastructure is of abysmal standard. The absence of an integrated and functional public transport system means that people are reliant on their cars for all movement and might end up paying more on fuel than our neighbours around the Mediterranean basin.
10. Libya has no external debt and its reserves amounting to $150 billion are now frozen globally.
Whilst our sovereign wealth is undeniable, none of it was spent on the people of Libya nor the infrastructure of the country. Basic amenities, services, and state infrastructure are either absent or of appalling standard.The availability of money is not tantamount to wealth or prosperity.
11. If a Libyan is unable to get employment after graduation the state would pay the average salary of the profession, as if he or she is employed, until employment is found.
Categorically untrue. Even basic wages are sometimes unpaid for months, for those lucky enough to be employed. Welfare for the unemployed is non-existent.
12. A portion of every Libyan oil sale is credited directly to the bank accounts of all Libyan citizens.
No basis to this claim as no such case can be found.
13. A mother who gives birth to a child receive U.S.$5,000.
There is a Child Benefit welfare payment in Libya – it is roughly 15-20 Libyan Dinars a month per child. No Libyan citizen was given foreign currency as compensation.
14. 40 loaves of bread in Libya costs $0.15.
Bread was subsidized by the state. Whilst the price varies (marginally) from shop to shop, bread usually costs ¼ dinars for 10 baguettes (small) or roughly 500grams per dinar.
15. 25 percent of Libyans have a university degree.
The absence of a comprehensive selection process and a corrupt entry protocol means that universities in Libya are grossly over populated and oversubscribed, despite limited facilities. This results in an over inflated number of graduates, but not necessarily an adequate level of employability. There are thousands of students studying foundation year medicine in Tripoli alone.
16. Gaddafi carried out the world’s largest irrigation project, known as the Great Manmade River project, to make water readily available throughout the desert country.
For those that want to read for themselves they can do so by going to the link below. The answers above are provided by a citizen of Tripoli by the name of Masareef Edareeya.