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Former Sudan Finance Minister ridicules charges against currency traders

November 23 - 2017 KHARTOUM
File photo
File photo

Former Sudanese Finance Minister Abdelrahim Hamdi has criticised the judicial and security measures taken by the government to counter the collapse of the Sudanese Pound against foreign currencies.

In a television interview on Tuesday, Hamdi described the measures as contradicting the state policies. Hamdi is one of the most prominent leaders of the National Congress, the Islamic Movement, and one of the economic policy engineers of the National Salvation era.

He expressed surprise at the arrest of currency traders on charges of sabotaging the economy, terrorism, and money laundering.

He wondered how the government could persuade the international community that the country is free from terrorism while prosecuting dozens of traders for financing terrorism. “The charge of sabotaging the economy does not apply to currency dealers because it was the Central Bank that asked them to provide foreign currency… the government is the largest buyer of the Dollar and the biggest player in the economy.”

Money laundering

Hamdi ridiculed the money laundering charges against currency traders. He explained that money laundering leads to the provision of foreign currencies; contrary to the current reality, where the country suffers a significant deficit in the Dollar.

He considered a number of government officials’ call for lifting subsidies on goods at this time as political and economic error and called for search for alternatives.

Hamdi has previously warned that the Sudanese Pound (SDG) could fall further – to as low as SDG 50 – against the US Dollar unless there is a change in the economic conditions in Sudan.

Hamdi’s warning was echoed this week in an interview broadcast on Radio Dabanga with economic expert Professor Hamid El Tijani who lectures in public policy in the American University in Cairo.

Chamber of Exporters

The Chamber of Exporters has strongly criticised the Central Bank of Sudan’s intention to take action against exporters who do not recover the revenues by the ban on dealing with the bank, stopping them from exporting and additional penalties to be announced later.

He called for stop of the travel of delegations abroad and the assignment of embassies to carry out their tasks, as well as the suspension of government-funded workshops.

The Deputy Secretary-General of the Chamber of Exporters, Dr Khalid El Magboul, has denounced the incriminating manner in the talk of government officials against exporters and importers in terms of their support to the state treasury

National Chamber

Wajdi Merghani, the head of the National Chamber, called on the government to set a realistic and flexible exchange rate for the Dollar, reducing the gap between the official and parallel prices and encouraging the remittances of expatriates.

He called on the government to differentiate between the exports, revenue and the currency trade and explained that there is a fine thread between them.

President Al Bashir has vowed to prosecute the heads of currency trading in the parallel market and fight currency brokers judicially. He has stressed the availability of the Dollar.

Al Bashir said in a television interview with Russia Today that the state does not think of floating the Pound, but pursues a flexible exchange rate policy. He pointed out to the lack of corruption in government agencies, but confirmed the existence of lax control and the implementation of directives.

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