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Communist Party of Sudan: ‘2016 a war budget’

December 23 - 2015 KHARTOUM
Paramilitaries of the Rapid Support Forces parade at the Karari base in Omdurman, 15 December 2014 (file photo)
Paramilitaries of the Rapid Support Forces parade at the Karari base in Omdurman, 15 December 2014 (file photo)

The Communist Party of Sudan predicts the economic collapse of the country if the government proceeds to lift subsidies on basic commodities.

In a press conference in Khartoum on Tuesday, the party’s spokesman, Yousef Hussein, attributed the “huge deterioration of the living conditions for most of the people in the country” to “the war policies” of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP). He further stressed the ability of the Sudanese to “topple the regime and restore democracy in order to live a decent life”.

Dr Siddig Kabello, economist and member of the party’s Central Bureau, called the proposed national budget for next year a “war budget”.

“The 2016 draft budget reflects the nature of the dictatorial regime whose economy requires increased spending on security services. With the new budget, Khartoum will spend the bulk of the country’s revenues on securing themselves and on militarisation.”

The economist added that the draft budget for 2016 focuses on indirect taxes. Social services are ignored. He called on the Sudanese to reject the new budget “designed to impoverish and starve the people”.

Subsidies

On 7 December, the Sudanese Minister of Finance requested the Parliament to endorse the government’s plan to introduce new cuts to subsidies on basic goods and services in the budget for 2016. Last year SDG10.5 billion ($1.7 billion) was allocated to subsidies.

Minister Badreldin Mahmoud said that the subsidy cuts on wheat, electricity, and fuel will enable the government to direct funds to other productive sectors, in order to bring the country out of the current “economic bottleneck” and “distress” currently experienced by the Sudanese people.

The prices at the various markets started to rise immediately after the news of possible subsidy cuts next year. The US Dollar rate rose to SDG11.55 on the Khartoum black market the following week – which means that the prices of basic goods imported from abroad will rise again.

Already lifted’

A Sudanese economist however, told Radio Dabanga on 11 December that the subsidies in fact have been lifted already. “After the global fuel prices dropped significantly, we assumed that the prices of fuel in Sudan would drop too, but this did not happen. Its becoming more and more clear that the state is trading in basic goods, including fuel.”

The economist said that the government is “living on taxes and fees” as a result of the “complete stop of the production wheel.

“In reality, the state will not lift subsidies as proposed in next year’s budget, but it will increase again the taxes on basic goods, to cover its military expenses and those of the security apparatus, the public administration, as well as its own projects.”

Security

President Omar Al Bashir dismissed criticism on the high share of the budget allocated to the army and security apparatus, saying that this still falls short of what is needed.

“I say that if 100% of the state’s budget was allocated to the army to secure the country then that is still not enough,” he said in remarks at the Air Force headquarters on 13 December.

“In the absence of security, we will lose anything. Take a look at the countries around us that have lost security. [..] We want to have our own arms industry and do not want to be consumers of the production of others,” Al Bashir said.


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