British Expertise wants to build infratsucture

A British consultants organisation is planning a mission to form trade contacts with the rebel Libyan administration in Benghazi.

British Expertise, which represents firms including Mott MacDonald, Gleeds and Pell Frischmann, wants to launch a “scoping mission” to find opportunities to repair war damage and to build infrastructure under a new Libyan government.

Graham Hand, chief executive of British Expertise, said that the trip was at an “internal planning stage” and expected “in a few months time”, but would be co-ordinated with the UK government.

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI ) has confirmed that it was in the early stages of discussions with British Expertise over the trip but stressed that no decisions had been taken.

An UKTI spokesperson said: “We follow FCO guidance, which is against all travel to Libya. In the fullness of time we will work on a scoping mission to Libya, but it’s not imminent.”

Hand said that no firms had yet signed up to the trip, which would have Benghazi as the “principal destination” but was sure he would find willing participants. “I have confidence that members of British Expertise will be interested,” he said.

Hand stated that while he thought there was some war damage to be repaired, the main task was to help the potential new government build up the country’s infrastructure.

“There will be some rehab of the oil and gas supply system, I believe there’s some damage there. But there isn’t so much war damage and where there is, it’s to military installations.

“There already was a pretty serious infrastructure need but it was always done pretty slowly,” he said, adding that it had usually favoured areas loyal to Gaddafi, such as Tripoli.

Hand said he thought a German delegation, whose government abstained on the UN vote over whether to attack Colonel Gaddafi’s forces, would not receive the same welcome. “There will be respect for these governments trying to free Libya and that will be reflected in respect for British companies.

“You have to pay attention to the possibility of being seen as ambulance chasers,” he said.