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British engineers "well positioned" for return to Libya, says ACE

UK Firms are not lagging behind other European countries and are well positioned to return to Libya if key criteria are resolved, the Association of Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) has said.

Responding to fears that Germany, France and Italy were ahead of UK firms on identifying rebuild opportunities, ACE chief executive Nelson Ogunshakin told NCE that the organisation was in talks with the Libyan transitional authorities.

“We are in direct dialogue at the moment with the transition government through some of our contacts to make sure that for the critical projects required we can very quickly mobilise UK Plc.”

He said that there are three key issues to resolve to enable firms to become involved in rebuilding opportunities. “One is about safety, two is about contractual relationships and three to get a direct line of leadership as to what needs to be done so that things can be improved very quickly.”

Contractual issues are particularly critical for many firms who fled Libya and are now owed considerable fees. “Quite a lot of people left the country with a lot of money on the table,” he said.

Despite this Ogunshakin, who worked in Tripoli as a graduate engineer, said that the long history of UK consultants in Libya meant that they are well positioned to assist the new government in creating development plans. “I see Libya as potentially a huge area of growth provided we are supportive of the transition government and help them prioritise what needs to be done and help them make the country safe. UK Plc is well positioned there.”

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