GNA Plans to Built 10 Billion Euros Metro Project Faces Ridicule by the Libyan Public – Al Marsad

While Libya suffers basic and embarrassing shortages of electricity, water, fuel, cooking gas, salaries, security, food, healthcare, education, and special needs, among others, the Minister of Economy of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), Ali Al-Essawi decides to announce the launch of a 10 billion Euros subway project. Libyans reacted with ridicule on their social media pages to Essawi’s metro line plan.

[Libya, 5 August 2019] – The GNA Minister of Economy, Ali Al-Essawi, said the ministry is going to launch the mega underground railway project for greater Tripoli, claiming that his team had met with investors and concerned Libyan authorities. The cost of the metro project is estimated, according to the minister, at 10 billion Euros, equivalent to a sky-rocketing total of 50 billion LYD at the parallel market rate of exchange, which the government has not yet been able to control.

In the presser that was televised by the Muslim Brotherhood-aligned Libya Al-Ahrar TV, Al-Essawi claimed that the metro project would be executed by Libyan and foreign investors without any funding from the Libyan state and is expected to create employment opportunities for over 40,000 job seekers. Immediately after the announcement of the plan in social media platforms, an unprecedented wave of posts ridiculing Essawi’s plans went viral.

Meanwhile, the General Electricity Company of Libya (GECOL) announced that power had returned to Misrata, Al-Khums, to the south Tripoli plants, as well as to Sirte steam power. It stated that armed men in Abu Kamash, Tripoli and Al-Khums broke into the electricity transformer stations and restored electricity by force, warning of fluctuating currents and possible shutdowns ahead. This news from GECOL was sarcastically seen by social media followers as a threat that could restrain the regular movement of the virtual metro plan of the GNA.

In response to the Minister of Economy’s proposed metro project, the hashtag #TurnYourHeaterOff went viral, with posts promoting electricity preservation and rationing, to ensures pressure reduction on the power grid and therefore avoid sudden shutdowns similar to the blackout that took place last Friday, which lasted for a couple of days in some areas. Many citizens mocked the #TurnYourHeaterOff campaign which was originally launched by the government’s TV channel in Tripoli and sent over text messages via cellphone companies to the public.

Many considered this announcement by Ali al-Essawi, in the middle of an ongoing war, as completely irrational and inappropriate, and no more than an attempt to polarize major western capitals who refrained from supporting the GNA. The GNA came into existence through a UN-brokered agreement in 2015, and it is attempting to send signals of potential economic opportunities in return for political support, particularly as the Security Council failed to reach any decision to end the war in Libya in a way that would benefit the Presidential Council in Tripoli since the outbreak of the war in  April.

Here are some examples of the posts and photos circulating in Libyan social media circles criticising and ridiculing Ali al-Essawi on his baffling metro plans:



© Al Marsad English. 2019.