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Libya's GNA to launch offensive on Haftar's forces within days | News



Troops loyal to Libya's internationally recognized government are preparing to launch a counteroffensive on renegade commander Khalifa Haftar's eastern-based forces currently struggling to maintain their positions along the capital's southern outskirts, the Government of National Accord's interior minister said.

" We are in preparation and within three days, so there will be a full-scale attack and we will switch from a defensive to attacking position, "said Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha.

" Haftar's forces will be repelled from the entire western region… There are other companies in which Haftar's forces are based. ”

The announcement came as the United Nations expressed concern about reports of indiscriminate shelling in populated areas.

Citing figures at the International Organization for Migration, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said 39,000 people were displaced by the capital's southern district. [1

9659005] Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA), which is allied to rival government in eastern Libya, launched an offensive to seize the capital on April 4, but has so far failed the breach the city's defenses.

"We have the assurance that this aggression on Tripoli has increased our strength and battle readiness. The security situation has improved, thanks to the efforts of security and police personnel," Bashagha said.

Separately, Economy Minister Ali Abdulaziz Issawi told Reuters News Agency that the GNA was budgeting up to $ 1.43bn to cover the cost of the war, which has entered its fourth week now. [19659005] Issawi said the government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj would spend the money on medical treatment of the wounded, aid for displaced people and other "emergency" costs, including the amount would not be used to fund the was efforts.

Tripoli derives revenue largely from oil and natural gas production, interest-free loans from local banks to the central bank, and a 183 percent surcharge on foreign exchange transactions conducted at official rates. But with centralized tax collection, much of the debt has been raised to 68 billion dinars ($ 48bn) in the west, including unpaid state bonds, such as social insurance.

Cutting public spending

Some analysts say Sarraj's government will be forced to raise the debt for the control of Tripoli drags on.

With much of Libya dominated by armed factions that also act as security forces, the public wage bill for both the western and eastern administrations has soared as fighters have been made public employees to buy their loyalty.

The east sold bonds worth $ 35 billion ($ 25bn) outside the official financial system as the Tripoli central bank does not fund the

Despite its limited reach, the Tripoli government still runs an annual budget of around 46.8 billion dinars ($ 34bn), mainly for public salaries and fuel subsidies.

"This year, we cannot finance via debt … We will not borrow [by agreement with the central bank]"Issawi said.

According to IMF data, Libya's central government's debt-to-GDP ratio is 143 percent, making it one of the most indebted countries in the world

Issawi declined to say that part 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

Widespread lawlessness has been a major infrastructure project since 2011, when a NATO-backed uprising overthrew long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi, leaving schools, hospitals and roads in acute need of res toration.

SOURCE:
             Al Jazeera and news agencies


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