Prices of basic commodities rise again in Sudan
Prices of commodities are increasing rapidly in Sudan’s capital Khartoum after officials announced that the government plans to lift subsidies on basic commodities next year. The US Dollar rate rose too. At the same time, President Al Bashir called for strengthening the security forces in the country.
The US Dollar rate rose to SDG11.55 at the Khartoum black market on Friday. This means that the prices of basic goods imported from abroad will rise again.
The prices at the various markets started to rise immediately after government officials announced a plan to lift government subsidies on wheat, flour, fuel and electricity in order to avoid economic collapse.
"The price of a carton of Egyptian lentils increased from SDG180 to SDG220, whereas the prices of a carton of tea leaves increased from SDG45 ($7.40) to SDG60 ($9.85), of a carton of coffee from SDG50 to SDG60,” a trader told Radio Tamazuj.
A utensils trader said that most of the prices of other items increased by 40 percent.
A Sudanese economist however, told Radio Dabanga on Friday that in reality the subsidies have been lifted already.
“After the global fuel prices dropped significantly, we assumed that the prices of fuel in Sudan would drop too, but this did not happen. Its becoming more and more clear that the state is trading in basic goods, including fuel.”
The economist said that the government is “living on taxes and fees” as a result of the “complete stop of the production wheel. In reality, the state will not lift subsidies as proposed in next year's budget, but it will increase again the taxes on basic goods, to cover its military expenses and those of the security apparatus, the public administration, as well as its own projects.”
According to the Sudanese Minister of Finance, the 2016 budget aims to reduce inflation and imports, direct more resources to agricultural production, and boost non-oil revenues.
The proposed subsidy cuts on wheat, electricity, and fuel will enable the government to direct funds to other productive sectors, in order to bring the country out of the current “economic bottleneck,” Minister Badreldin Mahmoud told MPs in Omdurman on Monday.
He stated that Sudan is to be transformed “from a consuming nation to a producing country”.
On Sunday, President Omar Al Bashir dismissed criticism on the high share of the budget allocated to the army and security apparatus, saying that this still falls short of what is needed.
“I say that if 100% of the state’s budget was allocated to the army to secure the country then that is still not enough,” he said in remarks before at the Air Force headquarters.
The president pledged to provide support for the manufacture of high-grade combat and military gear,” Sudan Tribune reported this morning.
“In the absence of security, we will lose anything. Take a look at the countries around us that have lost security. [..] We want to have our own arms industry and do not want to be consumers of the production of others,” Al Bashir said.
Last September, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned British Ambassador Michael Aron to protest statements he made to a Sudanese newspaper in which he addressed the situation in Darfur and debt relief.
Aron told El Meghar El Siyasi newspaper that it is impossible to cancel Sudan’s debt when the government spends 70 percent of the budget on security and military functions, and not on health, education and other sectors.
(Sources: Radio Tamazuj, Radio Dabanga, Sudan Tribune)
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