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Libyan budget deficit to double as strife hits oil output

Reuters, Wednesday 24 Sep 2014
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Libya's budget deficit could more than double to 19 billion Libyan dinars ($15 billion) this year as political and civil chaos ravage the OPEC member's oil revenues, a senior lawmaker said Wednesday.

Libya usually enjoys large budget surpluses thanks to oil export revenue but last year it ran an 8 billion dinar deficit as a wave of protests cut into crude output. That civil strife has since spiralled into armed conflict in many areas.

In response to the economic crisis, the House of Representative plans to cut spending in the 2014 budget next week to 52 billion dinars from 64 billion dinars, said Abdelsalam Ansiya, a senior lawmaker expected to be the new head of the budget committee.

Parliament will also slash its oil revenue forecast to 17 billion dinars from a previous estimate of 26 billion, Ansiya said.

"In the first six months there were almost no oil revenues," said Ansiya, who was the previous budget committee head before June elections for a new parliament.

Oil production has increased to 800,000 barrels a day but two months ago output was less than a quarter of that due to year-long protests at ports and technical problems at facilities that had stood idle.

Fighting between armed groups has brought the North African country to the brink of civil war as the government is unable to control brigades of former rebels who helped oust Muammar Gaddafi that are now battling each other.

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