On Saturday, Sudan’s Second Vice-President Hassabo Abdelrahman inaugurated the Gena Flour Mills in North Khartoum.
Minister of Industry Dr Mohamed Yousef Ali said in his speech that the flour mill, constructed by the Turkish Ugur company, is the biggest in Sudan. The government-owned factory, with a productive capacity of 1,800 tons a day, is a real achievement for the national economy, he stated.
The head of the Gena Mills’ Board of Directors, Ahmed Yousef El Khateeb, explained that the factory was constructed over an area of 50 thousand square metres. It includes nine silos with a total storage capacity of 63,000 tons.
According to the Minister of Investment, Mudasir Abdelghani, the lack of investments in the country has become “a thing of the past” after reforms have been implemented. He said that one of the basics of the Five-Year-Reform Programme is the focus on production and industrial processing.
The government-owned Seen Flour Mills, also built by the Ugur company, in 2014, was the third flour company at the time in Sudan, next to the private Saiga and Weta companies.
The Saiga Flour Mills, that used to be Sudan’s major flour supplier, however shut down its mills in mid–July last year, reportedly after a dispute with the government about the dollar rate set for wheat imports. The much higher US dollar rate on the black market was causing major losses to the flour mills.
Adel Mirghani, Secretary-General of the Khartoum Bakers Union, told the independent electronic newspaper Hurriyat at the time that the bakeries “now depend on distribution by Seen Flour Mills alone”. According to the newspaper, the Seen company is owned by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS).
Sudan annually imports more than two million tons of wheat at a cost of $1.5 billion. The flour crisis has been attributed to the scarcity of foreign currency needed for the import of wheat.
The hard currency rates on the black market in Sudan began to grow in 2010. In September that year, the Central Bank of Sudan announced that the lack of hard currency was becoming acute. The secession of South Sudan in July 2011, with which Sudan lost two-thirds of its oil revenues, an important source of hard currency, exacerbated the crisis.
(Sudan Vision Daily, Sudan Tribune, Radio Dabanga)