15 Feb 2009

Gaddafi urges Libyans to back income oil plan

1:13 pm on 15 February 2009

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi wants to dismantle the government and give the country's oil wealth directly to the people.

He called on Libyans on Saturday to endorse the proposal.

Gaddafi wants to rid the state of what he says is entrenched and widespread corruption.

Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi and Central Bank Governor Farhat Omar Bin Guidara told him in November the move could do long-term damage to the economy.

Libya's Basic People Congresses are due to meet in the next few days. They represent people at district and village levels across the country and vote laws and government's policy.

But in practice, Gaddafi decides on key policy, particularly on oil.

It is the first time that he has called on the LBPCs to back his ideas on oil income and government reform.

Gaddafi estimates the oil revenue would be $US32 billion per year.

In a speech on state television, Gaddafi said: "The administration has failed and the state economy has failed. Enough is enough.

"The solution is we Libyans take directly the oil money and decide what to do with the money."

He urged a sweeping reform of government bureaucracy, saying the whole cabinet system should be dismantled to free Libyans from corruption and mismanagement.

Gaddafi said corruption has become widespread in the government and just reshuffling cabinet would not cure the state of graft and mismanagement.

He accused successive governments of failing in every field, whether it be education or the economy.

Libya has five million people.