Major Sudanese miller halts production
The Saiga Company, one of the largest flour suppliers in Sudan, shut down its mills on 25 July after a dispute with the government.
The move was the result of a dispute last month between Saiga and the Khartoum government about the dollar rate set for wheat imports, the independent electronic newspaper Hurriyat reported on Friday.
The newspaper stated that the much higher US dollar rate on the black market, currently sold for SDG9.60, is causing major losses to the flour mills.
Adel Mirghani, secretary-general of the Bakers Union of Khartoum state confirmed to Hurriyat that Saiga stopped its flour production a week ago.
He said that people in many districts of the capital are now suffering from a “crippling shortage of bread”, as the bakeries now depend on distribution by Seen Flour Mills alone.
The newspaper stated that the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) has now become the sole provider of flour to the bakeries, as Seen Flour Mills is owned by the security apparatus.
At the end of last year, Sudan witnessed a bread crisis because of the scarcity of foreign currency needed to import wheat. Radio Dabanga reported on 25 March that in Omdurman, the sister city of Khartoum, several bakeries were forced to close their doors.
The shortfall at the Saiga Company reached 75 percent that month, while the production by the Seen Flour Mills was halved.
On Sunday, the Sudanese Bakers Union announced that the bread crisis will be solved soon, as seven ships, each laden with between 17,000 and 27,000 tons of imported flour, arrived in Port Sudan last week.
The price of bread, however, may rise by about 35 percent, Reuters reported on Wednesday, quoting an official at Seen Flour Mills.
He based his prediction ona reduction of the subsidy on imported wheat last week. The Central Bank of Sudan raised the US dollar exchange rate from SDG2.9 a dollar to SDG4 for wheat imports.
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