New customs rate halts Port Sudan harbour clearances
Incoming and outgoing traffic at the harbour of Port Sudan has been suspended because of the new customs rate for the US Dollar. Suppliers refuse to have their goods cleared.
At an emergency meeting on Thursday, the Board of Directors of the Sudanese Employers Union decided to submit an urgent memorandum to the Sudanese president concerning the problems caused by soaring prices, the continuing downward spiral of the Pound on the black market, and the refusal of suppliers to have their goods cleared according to the new customs rate of the US Dollar.
In December 2017, the government decided to raise the customs rate of the Dollar from SDG 6.7 to SDG 18 effective this year, in an attempt to combat the plummeting rate of the Sudanese Pound on the parallel hard currency market.
The result was that the prices of the main consumer goods doubled or even tripled in the first week of January. The price of a piece of bread increased from SDG 0,50 to SDG 1 ($ 0.14*).
The Dollar rate however, continued to rise. The greenback was trading at 32 Pounds on the Khartoum black market on Friday.
In various parts of the country people took to the streets in protest against the steep price increases. In most cases, security forces violently dispersed the demonstrators. In El Geneina, capital of West Darfur, a secondary school student was fatally hit by police bullets on January 7.
On Friday, after the noon prayers, dozens of people demonstrated in Wad Nubawi in Omdurman, the sister-city of Khartoum.
They chanted slogans against the skyrocketing prices, a listener reported to Radio Dabanga. He explained that the price of a 50kg sack of sugar rose from SDG 600 ($ 85) to SDG 850 ($ 121) in the past week.
* Based on the official US Dollar rate quoted by the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS)
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