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Record inflation tops 60% in Sudan

June 17 - 2018 KHARTOUM
Fruit sellers at the El Soug El Arabi in downtown Khartoum (Transitions Abroad)
Fruit sellers at the El Soug El Arabi in downtown Khartoum (Transitions Abroad)

The Sudanese Central Statistics Bureau reported on Thursday that the inflation in May was 60,93 per cent, an increase of 4.92 per cent compared with the average price hikes of 57.65 per cent in April. Saudi Arabia may support the Sudanese economy for a period of five years. Turkey granted 10,000 tons of wheat to Sudan.

The Bureau attributed the huge inflation rate in May to the increased consumption during the fasting month of Ramadan.

Economist Dr Sidgi Kaballo called the inflation rate of May is “the highest Sudan has experienced in years”.

He attributed the rise to the increased borrowing from the banks and excessive cash flow compared to the weak economic growth in the country. “The high inflation rates are leading to starkly diminished purchasing power, increased poverty, worsening health conditions, and growing rates of migration and unemployment,” he told Radio Dabanga.

The economy in Sudan has hit rock bottom. Khartoum remains crippled after the loss of millions in oil revenues since South Sudan seceded in 2011. The country needs hard currency to import basic commodities from abroad. Apart for skyrocketing prices, the majority of the Sudanese are suffering from continuing fuel shortages, and a scarcity of wheat and medicines, and power and drinking water outages.

In early January, inflation spiralled upwards after Khartoum implemented far-fetching austerity measures in compliance with the 2018 national budget. In an attempt to halt the plummeting Pound on the parallel forex market, the customs rate of the US Dollar was raised from SDG 6.7 to an indicative SDG 18. The prices of basic commodities, such as bread, doubled, the prices of some medicines even tripled.

In response, Sudanese across the country took to the streets in protest against the soaring prices, and a shortages of clean drinking water. Police used tear gas and live bullets to disperse the demonstrators. Many leaders of opposition parties were detained, and newspapers were instructed to not to cover the price hikes or the protests.

Aid

Saudi Arabia has reportedly promised Khartoum to support an economic development programme over the next five years.

“The Saudi Kingdom has pledged to fund an economic programme that will develop production projects in Sudan for the period of five years – just like the programme it is doing in Jordan,” State Minister of the Presidency, Hatem Bakheet said after a meeting between President Al Bashir and the Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman in El Riyadh last week.

Saudi Arabia however, has not announced any details about the alleged agreement between Al Bashir and bin Salman so far.

Shipments

The Ministry of Finance of Red Sea state announced the harbour received a shipment of 10,000 tons of wheat.

The wheat is provided by the Disaster and Emergency Department of the Office of the Prime Minister of Turkey as a gift to the Sudanese people, Omar Farajallah, a representative of the Minister of Finance explained to reporters in the state capital Port Sudan on Thursday.

He added that the ministry expects another shipment in the coming days, consisting of 15,000 tons of diesel, destined for the distribution to farmers who need fuel to irrigate their land during the current agricultural season, and the building of a strategic stockpile.


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