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Crackdown on smuggling in Sudan, capital low on bread

February 6 - 2018 KHARTOUM
A bread distribution centre in Sudan (file photo)
A bread distribution centre in Sudan (file photo)

In the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, the shortage of flour has caused queues in front of bakeries. President Omar Al Bashir directed a crackdown on the smuggling of Sudanese goods.

In many areas in Khartoum state, people have to queue in front of bakeries because of a shortage of bread which has started last Friday. “We travel to distant bakeries, which costs us the price of a loaf of bread,” a resident told Radio Dabanga.

Badreldin El Jalal, the secretary-general of the bakeries’ union in Khartoum state, has recently denied that there is a flour crisis or a gap. Early January El Jalal called on all the bakery owners not to stop working when bakeries started to close their doors because of the flour shortage.

The Sudanese government decided to increase the prices of wheat flour this month. The price of a 100 kg sack of wheat rose from SDG 440 ($ 24*) to SDG 550 ($ 30) on Saturday.

Border smuggling

President Omar Al Bashir has instructed the resumption of border trade with neighbouring countries, so as to pave the way for a crackdown on large-scale smuggling of Sudanese goods.

On Monday, Al Bashir issued his decision while heading the regular meeting of the exchange rate control committee. He issued other directives that would combat the smuggling of gold and other products.

Trade Minister Hatim El Sir said in a press statement afterwards that this month “will see a meeting of state governors, to discuss how to regulate border trade with neighbouring countries”.

Minister of Minerals Hashem Mohamed Salem said he expects that the directives will tightly control the gold markets, by increasing the personnel of the mineral police that works to prevent smuggling.

Abdelrahman Dirar of the state ministry of finance said that the government’s intention is to make amendments to the Customs Act. This would authorise the confiscation of all smuggled goods, he said in the statement while not elaborating further.

* Based on the official US Dollar rate quoted by the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS)

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