Tunisians living on the border with Libya are blocking the road and preventing travellers crossing from one country to the other.

The residents of Ben Guredane, the first district in Tunisia on the border with Libya, want the Libyan authorities to allow them to import goods from Libya and sell them in Tunisia, an activity that has recently banned by Libya.

Conditional subsidies

The ban is due to conditions attached to funds made available for import letters of credit (L/Cs) subsidised by the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) for purchases of food and basic goods that are in short supply in Libya.

The funds were made available to Libyan importers in December 2016 when Libya's interim government issued an ordinance tasking the CBL to provide 300 million Libyan dinars (US$211 million) cover in foreign currency needed for L/Cs for essential imports (DC World News, 5 December 2016).

Blockade continues

The residents of Ben Guerdane are blocking the road to try to force the Libyan authorities to allow them to import goods from Libya and sell them to Tunisian buyers.

But this would allow the Tunisian importers to sell goods meant to alleviate shortages of food and basic goods in Libya. The importers would be able to sell goods for double or triple the price paid by Libyan buyers with CBL-subsidised L/Cs.

A committee from Libya has visited Tunisia in a bid to resolve the dispute but while a deal was struck with Tunisian officials, the residents have not brought the blockade to an end.

This article represents the views of the author and not necessarily those of the ICC or any of the other partners in DC-PRO.