Thursday, 8 July 2010

Foreign migration raising concern among civilian authorities

Foreign migration is a key issue in Libya, and it is affecting relations with a number of foreign countries. The government's sharply changing migration policy – which currently rejects any further growth in the migrant labour population - has been expressed this week in the treatment of Eritrean migrants. The rioting in Misrata has created genuine concern among the civilian authorities.

At the same time, however, the Libyan organisations that have been making handsome profits from aiding the smuggling of transiting migrants to Europe have recently found the going very tough, as the government seeks to weed out the major companies and individuals involved in the trafficking. The anti-migrant atmosphere in Libya is likely to persist, and this could always give rise to violence on all sides.

The government is fast losing credibility on the matter of the redistribution of oil income among the Libyan population. It was intended to aid the income growth throughout the lower-budget classes of society.

The Libyan newspaper Jamahiriya suggested that 230,815 families have benefited from this redistribution. However, these figures cover up the fact than many of the assets distributed under the programme are worthless shares in basically defunct nationalised parts of the economy. Moreover, a deal of creaming off the assets of the development committee – supposed to have reached €6,300 million - will have undermined any impact that it might have had in transforming the lives of ordinary Libyans.

The alleviation of poverty is only partially reaching those in most need, and this is leaving a serious question of social stability as the oil industry develops and inflation gets worse.

For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politcs & Security.

© 2010 Menas Associates

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