RABAT, June 15 Libya's government approved a
$31.4 billion budget for the rest of 2011, the official news
agency said on Wednesday, a move apparently aimed at showing it
was functioning as normal despite air strikes and sanctions.
Jana said the funds would "provide the necessary financial
sources to cover the state's expenditure for the rest of the
year" and would be distributed to the country's 22 districts.
It said just under half of the total 37.65 billion dinars
($31.4 billion) would be used to pay salaries.
It appeared to be an attempt by Muammar Gaddafi to show his
government was still solvent despite a civil war pitting his
forces against rebels looking to end his 41-year rule.
Libya's former central bank governor Farhat Bengdara, who
defected in March was quoted this week, as saying the Gaddafi
government had just $500 million left in cash at the end of
February, although it still held about 155 tonnes of gold bars.
An International Monetary Fund report put Libya's net
foreign assets held by the central bank and the sovereign wealth
fund at $150 billion at the end of 2010.
Some of these assets were abroad and have been seized as
part of sanctions against Libya.
That still leaves Gaddafi with a large pile of currency, but
with no new foreign exchange coming in from the sale of oil --
which is also blocked by sanctions -- those reserves will
(Reporting by Joseph Nasr and John Irish; Editing by Alison