Fuel, liquidity crises impact South Kordofan residents
Residents of Talodi have complained that ongoing fuel and liquidity crises in Sudan have been exacerbated by re-sale of fuels on the black market.
Radio Dabanga was told by various residents in Talodi that the fuel crisis is caused by Sudan Army Forces (SAF) officers and the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS).
They reported that army and NISS officers are taking fuel from the pumps and selling them on the black market, where the price of a barrel of diesel has amounted to SDG8,000 ($168*). The same amount of fuel is sold at SDG1,300 ($27.30) at fuel stations.
On 12 February 2019, the Oil Ministry called on vehicle owners and agricultural industrial machinery owners in all Sudanese states to register their vehicles and equipment at the nearest fuel station, so as to ensure that they get the required amount of fuel. The ministry said in a press statement that this action comes in the context of the Sudanese Oil Corporation seeking to combat the smuggling of petroleum products, combating the black market exchange and enforcing the policies that guarantee everyone’s right to refuel.
Residents also told Radio Dabnaga that the price of a barrel of water has risen from SDG20 to SDG30 ($0.40-0.63) inside Talodi, and to SDG150 ($3.15) in the mining areas surrounding the town. The price of flour has risen from SDG3 to SDG8 ($0.06-$0.17), and malaria medicines to SDG 150 ($3.15).
The Sudanese Pound has continued to drop against the US Dollar, against the backdrop of ongoing demonstrations calling for the step-down of President Al Bashir and his regime from power, which were sparked by bread and fuel shortages in Atabara on 13 December 2018.
No salary increase
In addition to shortages in goods, banks are “completely unable” to provide salaries to workers and employees, according to an employee of the bank in Talodi.
Residents in Talodi have also complained of low salaries and cash shortages. They pointed out that salary increases promised by the government in January this year have not yet been received due to the liquidity crisis. On top of this, the last time they were paid (two months ago) they received no increase in salary.
The printing of new currency by the Central Bank of Sudan has been necessitated by hyperinflation, coupled with a chronic shortage of hard cash.
The head of the Sudanese Workers Trade Unions Federation announced in December last year that wages would rise by SDG500 ($10.52) for those in the lowest income group, and SDG2,500 ($52.63) for higher earners. Pensioners would also receive an increase of SDG500.
Duriya Babikir, speaking for the Sudanese Professionals Association at the time, told Radio Dabanga that “this does not translate to a decent living wage”. She demanded that a new minimum wage be set at SDG8,664 for the minimum amount that can meet the basic needs of citizens.
* As effective foreign exchange rates can vary widely in Sudan, Radio Dabanga bases all SDG currency conversions on the Market Makers Mechanism-determined daily US Dollar rate quoted by the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS).
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