The threefold increase in the cooking gas prices announced by the Sudanese government on Monday has sparked widespread condemnation in the country.
“This crazy increase is not logical and disproportional with the incomes of the people,” housewife Samia El Shiwein told Radio Dabanga from Khartoum.
“This increase is shocking, as the prices of gas, petrol and its derivatives were declining. Now the government suddenly turns our life upside-down again. Many people will have to use their savings to survive.”
She noted that “the government knows very well that there are no alternatives available in Sudan for cooking gas”. People in North Kordofan’s capital El Obeid are at a loss over what to cook on. A listener told Radio Dabanga that “LPG cylinders even became scarce at the black market”.
He added that the authorities have banned the use of charcoal and firewood. “They put a fine of SDG1,000 ($163) on the sale or purchase of a 100kg sack of charcoal.”
A resident of Khashm El Girba in eastern Sudan’s Kassala state reported to Radio Dabanga that the people in the area suffer from a “complete lack of flour and cooking gas for a week”.
In Berber in northern Sudan’s River Nile state people are queuing for days to obtain a gas cylinder, a listener reported. He strongly condemned “these destructive policies of this failing government”.
The Bakeries’ Union expects the bread prices to increase too after the government lifted the subsidies on cooking gas. The Union’s secretary-general, Adel Mirghani, said in a press statement that a committee will be established to collect information on the number of bakeries using cooking gas.
He said that the government subsidy on cooking gas for bread bakeries has not been lifted. “Yet this contribution covers only 20 percent of the costs of a piece of bread.”
The head of the Bakeries Union also pointed to an acute scarcity of flour in a number of districts in the Sudanese capital. “This will end soon, as the Seen Flour Mills has distributed flour to the bakeries the past couple of days. Moreover, a 30,00 load of wheat arrived at Port Sudan from Turkey.”