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New Sudan PM: ‘Shock approach to mend economy’

September 17 - 2018 KHARTOUM
Sudan’s new Prime Minister, Motaz Mousa, who also holds the portfolio of Minister of Finance and Economic Planning (Photo: SUNA)
Sudan’s new Prime Minister, Motaz Mousa, who also holds the portfolio of Minister of Finance and Economic Planning (Photo: SUNA)

Sudan’s new Prime Minister, Motaz Mousa, who also holds the portfolio of Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, has said in his first speech that he will adopt “a shock approach to address the imbalances in inflation and the exchange rate of the Pound”.

Prime Minister Mousa, who took-up office this week, was formerly Minister of Electricity and Water Resources. His appointment was part of a cabinet reshuffle by President Omar Al Bashir in line with new measures to cut government spending.

The official Sudan News Agency (SUNA) reports today that the handing-over procedures between Mousa, and the former Finance Minister, Gen Dr Mohammed Osman Al Rikabi, took place on Monday, at the Finance Ministry in Khartoum.

Mousa has set his mandate of 400 days and 3,000 hours until 2020 to implement the programmes, which he said, would be “a partnership between the government and society”.

‘Disaster for the Sudanese people’

Mousa’s approach has drawn sharp criticism from economist, former banker, and civil society activist Ismail Mohamed, however, who believes that “the shock programme will be a disaster for the Sudanese people, who can no longer endure any shock”.

Mohamed said in an interview with Radio Dabanga that the shock programme, which depends on lifting subsidies on goods and services and reducing the price of currency and government spending, has been a proven recipe in Sudan since 1978 in response to the International Monetary Fund.

He said that “the policy of drying the market of money followed by the government is a treatment followed in countries that suffer from inflation, rather than in the case of economic downturn, as is the situation now in Sudan”.

“The recipe for shock treatment might bear fruit in the short term, but the situation in Sudan requires medium- and long-term plans.” - Ismail Mohamed

He stressed: "The people are no longer capable of absorbing any shock, because prices have doubled in the past six months and are continuing to rise."

Short term

Mohamed believes: “The recipe for shock treatment might bear fruit in the short term, but the situation in Sudan requires medium- and long-term plans.

“The 400-day period set by the new prime minister is a guess, because the economy depends on numbers and statistics to make appropriate decisions, something that has not yet happened, coupled with the collapse of agricultural projects, and the infrastructure needs and  resources which Sudan simply does not have,” Mohamed asserts.

Economic reform

On Sunday in his first session, Prime Minister Mousa directed ministers and state ministers to submit three projects in the fields of economic reform within 24 hours: improving people’s livelihood, good governance, rule of law, and fighting corruption alongside civil service reform.

He pledged to establish peace and stop the deterioration of the Pound and basic services and the implementation of the principle of transparency and accountability.


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