Korean Builders Upbeat as Gov't Pledges $1 Million to Libya

      August 23, 2011 11:29

      Korean builders have bright prospects of resuming construction projects in Libya once the civil war comes to an end there, the Korean government and industry insiders predicted.

      The government on Monday pledged US$1 million in cash aid to the Libyan National Transitional Council, the mainstay of the Libyan rebel forces fighting Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi.

      A Foreign Ministry official said, "We've already provided humanitarian aid worth $1 million for displaced people in Libya through international agencies such as the World Food Programme. We're planning to give an additional $1 million directly to the NTC for humanitarian reasons."

      Seoul sent a delegation to the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi to meet with the NTC in late June. The NTC reportedly promised to guarantee Korean nationals' safety and do its best so Korean builders can resume construction projects once the civil war comes to an end.

      The projects of 72 Korean builders including subcontractors have been suspended at a total of 47 sites throughout Libya since February. They are worth $7.4 billion.

      Industry insiders are optimistic about them since most are infrastructure projects that are essential for Libya’s reconstruction, including power stations, schools, hospitals, and homes. They are expected to resume as early as next month.

      The Korean builders suffered relatively slight losses. But some report property damage of up to W10 billion (US$1=W1,084) as a result of vandalism and looting at building sites.

      Unpaid bills amount to W300 billion, but a government official said the advance payments Korean builders as a whole received from Libya "are larger than the outstanding amount."

      The government and industry are preparing to participate in Libyan reconstruction projects worth another $100 billion.

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