Sudan’s newly established Social Security Commission reported yesterday that 77 per cent of Sudanese now live in poverty. With the launch of a pilot of the Family Support Programme, the Ministry of Finance aims to reach half a million people. El Thiqa Islamic Bank has signed an agency contract with Western Union.
Dr Ezzeldin El Safi, Director of the Social Security Commission, said that the number of people living in poverty rose from 50 per cent in 1994 to 77 per cent in 2016, according to a report of the World Bank.
Their per capita income no longer exceeds $1.25 a day, he said. Red Sea state is the poorest state.
El Safi explained that the commission seeks to extend its ‘guarantee network’ to include more people living below the poverty line or just above it. The aim is to free 200,000 families from the circle of poverty.
In El Fasher, capital of North Darfur, people are now paying SDG10* for one loaf of bread. Prices of basic and essential goods still increase at the market.
The governor of North Darfur, Mohamed Arabi, announced that 3,000 sacks of flour have been transported from Khartoum to El Fasher on Sunday and Monday. A reserve flour stock will be created to face emergencies, given the fluctuations in the supply of flour to North Darfur.
The federal Ministry of Finance announced the launch of a pilot of the Family Support Programme, Samarat [fruits]. In the pilot phase, the programme will support about half a million people in Khartoum, Northern State, Red Sea state, Kassala, Blue Nile state, Sennar, the three Kordofan states, and North and South Darfur.
The Ministry of Finance said in a statement that the programme is expected to expand its coverage gradually until about seven million people will be reached in all states of Sudan.
El Thiqa Islamic Bank in Sudan signed an agency contract with Western Union, the giant American financial services company, which has a wide network of agents in more than two hundred countries around the world.
Abbas Abdallah, Director of El Thiqa Bank, said that the agreement allows all Sudanese within and outside the country to make money transfers to and from Sudan without an intermediary, and to receive the transferred money at Tadamon Bank branches throughout Sudan.
International sanctions prohibit business with Sudanese banks. Sudanese expats now send money to Sudan via Dahabshiil (an international forex company set up by Somalis) or via systems developed privately, where a Sudanese abroad hands an amount of money to a Sudanese trader living in that country. The trader's contact in Sudan then hand the recipient the money in Sudanese Pounds, at the parallel market rate.
* USD 1 = SDG 55.1375 at the time of publishing this article. As effective foreign exchange rates can vary in Sudan, Radio Dabanga bases all SDG currency conversions on the daily middle US Dollar rate quoted by the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS). At the parallel market $1 now costs SDG260.
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