Bread, fuel and cash shortages in eastern Sudan
Port Sudan has been experiencing severe shortages of bread, diesel and liquidity for over a week. Bakeries have started with a purchase limit for customers.
Journalist Osman Hashim, based in the capital of Red Sea state, told Radio Dabanga that the bakeries set a maximum of 30 pieces of bread for each customer. “The residents are forced to stand in long queues to get bread.”
The bakery owners have attributed the crisis to the scarcity of flour. As flour becomes increasingly scarce, most parts of Sudan are experiencing a bread crisis, in particular El Gedaref, Kassala, River Nile state, Khartoum, South Kordofan, and West and East Darfur.
Hashim pointed to the continuation of the fuel crisis in Sudan, and the queueing of vehicles in front of fuel stations. This led to a crisis in transportation and a rise in public transport tariffs.
He pointed out that people have been unable to withdraw money from banks because of a lack of liquidity: most banks have stopped operating while others were overcrowded by people wanting to obtain money from their accounts.
Crop traders have been forced by authorities to open bank accounts to deposit cash
The liquidity crisis in El Gedaref has worsened as the authorities have forced traders and farmers in the crop market to open accounts in banks and deposit the cash they receive from selling sesame, so as to increase the liquidity level in the state.
Bakery owners in the eastern Sudanese state told Radio Dabanga that the Seen Flour Mills company has refused to accept cheques from them in exchange for flour, and forced them to pay in cash.
Seen Flour Mills is allegedly owned by members of the National Intelligence and Security Service.
The bakery owners accused flour companies in general of seizing amounts of money obtained from bakeries in banks and using it to buy sesame from the market and sell the crop for cheques. Afterward, transforming the value of flour cheques to the banks and then benefiting from the profits. “This has exacerbated the liquidity crisis in the town.”
Last week most of the bakeries in El Gedaref closed because of lack of flour.
In Northern state, people in El Golid have to pay two Sudanese Pounds for a piece of bread. This has been the case since the fasting month of Ramadan, in mid-June this year. A resident reported that operative authorities have seized quotas of flour, to sell them in the black market.
In addition, bakeries in El Golid have not received subsidised flour for over six months.
Earlier this month, the Sudanese Ministry of Finance announced that flour subsidies would increase by 40 per cent, costing the state coffers SDG 25 million ($735,000) a day.
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