‘Khartoum state mortgaged plots up to $150 billion’: economist
The value of land in Khartoum state, mortgaged to businessmen and banks, amounts to SDG900 billion ($150 billion), according to a prominent Sudanese economist.
Prof. Esameldin Abdelwahab Bob told Radio Dabanga in an interview on Tuesday that mortgaging state territory “seriously undermines the national economy”, and stressed that mortgaging piece of state lands is a crime that carries the death penalty. “It is a phenomenon not often seen in the world. How can authorities mortgage land that they do not own?”
El Sudani newspaper last week published an article on the subject, quoting reliable sources that indicated that the mortgaged plots in Khartoum state include ministries’ premises, offices of several districts, and some hospitals and schools.
The newspaper also reported that the newly appointed Khartoum state governor and former Defence Minister Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein, told journalists during a Ramadan breakfast ceremony on 1 July, that the Ministry of Planning and Urban Development has sold all the plots.”
The economist said that the Sudan Investment Review, issued by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) in December 2014, confirmed that the value of foreign assets (FDI stock) rose to $22,693 billion in 2014, from $1.3 billion in 2000, and just $55 million in 1990.
The Review reported that the value of foreign direct investment stocks in Sudan in 2013 constituted 41.6 percent of the gross national product (GNP) that year, while it was 1.3 percent of the country’s GNP in 1995. It jumped to 31.1 percent in 2011, to 50.6 percent the following year, and constituted 41.6 percent of Sudan’s GNP in 2013.
He also referred to a research done by the Middle East and North Africa-Association for Institutional Research in August 2014 revealed that Sudan ranks second among African countries that sell and lease parts of their territories.
El Gezira Scheme
Bob added that the recent constitutional amendments have given President Omar Al Bashir the sole responsibility for the country’s territory. “Furthermore, the El Gezira Scheme Act allows for the selling of its farmlands.
“This means,” the economist stressed, “that the Sudanese government has decided, in a final and comprehensive manner, to sell out its lands, especially in El Gezira state, lands that provide livelihood to thousands of Sudanese farmers.”
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