The World Bank has revealed large losses suffered by the Libyan economy from the smuggling of fuel to Tunisia, with the amounts of smuggled fuel exceeding 500 million liters per year.
According to a study prepared by the Bank, the transfer of petrol from Libya led to a loss of 17% on the budget level in Libya.
The Brega Oil Company estimated that the quantities of fuel seized before smuggling into neighboring countries, including Tunisia, were around 25 million liters last year.
The head of the fuel and gas crisis committee, Milad al-Hajri, said 40 percent of the Tunisian domestic market was operating on smuggled Libyan fuel, adding that recent anti-smuggling measures have resulted in a loss of $1 billion.
A crisis erupted last July as some Tunisians from the border villages blocked the movement and passage of Libyan travelers to pressure the Libyan authorities and allow them to smuggle subsidized goods through the Ras Jedir port.
The fuel and gas crisis committee has published pictures of major protests and roadblocks because of the prevention of smuggling operations in the Tunisian city of Ben Gardane.
The volume of trade between Libya and Tunisia has decreased significantly, especially after the closure of Ras Jedir border crossing between the two countries, which is the lifeline of southern Tunisian.
According to official figures from the Ministry of Commerce, bilateral trade between Tunisia and Libya has dropped by more than 75% due to the total suspension of the activities of more than 100 Tunisian institutions that were working exclusively with the Libyan market.
More than 1,000 companies have also curtailed their export and production programs, which were geared towards Tripoli because of the security situation.
The representative of the World Bank in Tunisia recommends that Tunisia and Libya work together in formulating policies to control the risks arising from unrest in both countries.