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Lack of fuel affects White Nile, Northern states’ transport

February 9 - 2018 RABAK / DONGOLA
Bus station in Khartoum (file photo)
Bus station in Khartoum (file photo)

Transport in White Nile state has been paralysed by a shortage of fuel this week. In addition to petrol, also cooking gas has become scarce in Northern State.

Speaking from Rabak town, a resident said that the only petrol in the area can be obtained in the black market as fuel stations are lacking petrol. “The crisis has intensified on Tuesday. With transport paralysed, many employees and workers cannot go to work.”

The shortage of bread in the state is ongoing, he added, and people wait in long lines in front of bakeries in an attempt to obtain the scarce good.

In White Nile’s Atbara, residents experience a similar shortage of bread and a sharp rise in the prices of essential commodities. The price of a sack of flour has risen to SDG 550 ($30*) while the price of a sack of sugar has risen to SDG 1,150 ($63).

A worker in Atbara told Radio Dabanga that local authorities have obliged owners of bakeries to reduce the size of the loafs of bread, and keep the price at one Pound. “They fear protests may erupt.

“Most of the ATMs in the town have been out of service because of a lack of money or the disruption of the network.”

Kosti in White Nile witnessed a strike by drivers who demanded a raise of the tariff in public transport, after which the local Transport Chamber decided to increase the tariff to SDG 5.

Northern State

Towns and rural areas in the Northern State lack fuel and cooking gas, a housewife from old Halfa reported to this station. “Live has become difficult because of the rising prices.

“The price of sack of flour has risen to SDG 600 ($33), a sack of sugar costs SDG 30 ($1.65) and a medium size jarkana of oil SDG 210 ($11.50).”

She said that the fuel crisis has prompted vehicle owners queue in long lines in front of fuel stations. The tariff for a rickshaw, local transport, has doubled to SDG 30.

In addition to this, bank customers who have been trying to withdraw their deposits have become fed-up with the banks’ lack of liquidity. Customers stand for hours in front of the banks daily, one of them told Radio Dabanga, but the employees of the banks cannot be of help to them because there is no cash.

Aviation rates

The Sudanese Civil Aviation Authority announced a raise of the exchange rate to SDG 30 for the issuance of travel tickets, cargo handling and aviation services fees, as of yesterday. The rate has nearly been doubled from SDG 15.90.

A letter issued by the Department of Air Transport of the authority, addressed to all managers of airlines operating in the country, explained that the decision is in line with the change in the exchange rate announced by the Central Bank of Sudan.

Inflation

The current budget is designed to allocate the majority of funds to security, defence and presidential expenditures. The budget includes a devaluation of the Sudanese currency against the US Dollar, whose official value rose from 6.9 to 18 Sudanese Pounds (SDG), a rise of 260 per cent. This rapid inflationary measure led to a significant increase in the value of all basic consumer and imported goods.

The new budget also includes the lifting of subsidies on wheat, whose price of a 50-kg sack increased from 165 SDG to 450 SDG ($23.50-$64). The civil society actor Sudan Democracy First Group (SDFG) has argued that it was the government’s mismanagement that led to the economic crisis which Sudanese people now endure.


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


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