Arab Monetary Fund lends Sudan $166m
The Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) announced on Tuesday that agreed to lend the Sudanese government $166 million. Sudan’s first vice-president inaugurated the Economic Security Authority, a new department of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) on Wednesday.
The AMF said in a statement that the $166 million loan will contribute to the financing of the balance of payments deficit and support the economic reform programme covering the years 2016 and 2017.
According to the statement, Sudan’s economic reform programme aims to promote financial and economic stability, and create a macro-economic environment for achieving comprehensive and sustainable economic growth rates.
The programme includes a set of policies and procedures to strengthen the financial position of the government, develop its monetary policy, and improve efficiency. It should also enhance the country’s external position and establish the necessary infrastructure to accelerate development.
This latest amount raises the number of loans the AMF has granted to 14, and the amount given to Sudan by the fund to $400 million.
Sudan’s economy was hit hard since the southern part of the country declared independence in July 2011, taking with it about 75 percent of the country’s oil output.
In August 2014, the Sudanese government announced the start of a five-year programme to “promote economic and financial stability, and achieve comprehensive and sustainable growth rate through improving the macroeconomic environment”. It succeeded in bringing the official inflation rate down from 46.8 percent in July 2014 to 11.3 percent in August 2015.
The lack of hard currency however, required to import basic commodities from abroad drives up the actual prices on the markets. The exchange rate of the US dollar on the black market reached SDG11.55, while the official dollar exchange rate stated by the Central Bank of Sudan is about SDG6.1.
On Wednesday, First Vice-President Lt. Gen. Bakri Hassan Saleh inaugurated the NISS Department of Economic Security in Khartoum.
In his opening speech, Saleh stated that though the “issue of economy in the country is seeing a remarkable progress, it is faced with mounting challenges – despite the notable stability and security across the country.”
He demanded the security authorities supply information to the government bodies concerned with strategic planning, and added that “the NISS is able to meet the challenges [..] with respect to the five-year economic programme aiming at fostering the national economy.”
NISS Chief Lt. Gen. Mohamed Atta El Moula, Chief of NISS, said that the “NISS has done a tremendous job over the past four years regarding safeguarding the national economy in the aftermath of the secession of South Sudan.
“Looking at this year’s budget and efforts being made in the economy, make us confidently say that we have overcome the economic shock of South Sudan’s secession.”
El Moula explained the NISS is working on a “sustainable security” by establishing a “genuine safety infrastructure”, but he admitted that such a project needs time and qualified personnel to materialise.
He further highlighted the importance of combating economic crimes, especially the smuggling of gold in order “to assist the Central Bank of Sudan in purchasing large amounts of the substance”.
(Middle East Monitor, Sudan Tribune, Sudan Vision Daily)
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