Reports of government plans to privatise seaports have been met by a chorus of condemnation in Sudan’s Red Sea state.
The reports have been circulated about the formation of a committee of the Ministry of Transportation to proceed with the privatisation of the ports.
Activist Mohammed Karrar told Radio Dabanga from Port Sudan that the decision to privatise will lead to the displacement of more than 40,000 workers and staff, and warned of the serious economic and social effects of the decision.
He expressed surprise at “the state’s orientation towards privatisation of profitable institutions, while what is required is the privatisation of loss-making ones”.
He stressed that “the ports are institutions associated with the sovereignty of the state that should not be privatised or managed by foreigners”.
He said that the Beja Congress is planning to hold a symposium by specialists to discuss the issue of the privatisation of the seaports on Friday.
“Ports constitute a main source of income for all the citizens of the state…”
The Beja Congress itself reiterated its rejection of the decision to privatise the ports. On behalf of the Beja Congress leadership, Abdullah Mousa expressed concern about the serious implications of the privatisation of ports in the displacement of staff and workers, highlighting that the ports constitute a main source of income for all the citizens of the state.
He said the government has already embarked on the privatisation project by renting some locations within the ports to companies.
He explained that “the main obstacle facing the ports is closing of incoming and outgoing trade movement and shutting down the global market on the face of the country because of the foreign policies of the Government”
He told Radio Dabanga that “the decision to privatise the ports has no economic feasibility and is indicative of corruption”.
The General Union for Port Workers in Port Sudan also reject the decision. In a statement on Wednesday, the Union announced its intention to arrange a meeting with the Transportation Minister to inform him of its point of view.