The annual budget that Khartoum has prepared for 2018 shows the magnitude of the government mismanagement that led to the economic crisis experienced by the Sudanese people, and the popular discontent deepens the political instability in Sudan, according to a Sudanese think-thank.
The current budget is designed to allocate the majority of funds to security, defence and presidential expenditures, Sudan Democracy First Group (SDFG) reported today. The budget includes another devaluation of the Sudanese currency against the US Dollar, whose official value rose from 6.9 to 18 Sudanese Pounds (SDG), a rise of 260 per cent. This rapid inflationary measure led to a significant increase in the value of all basic consumer and imported goods.
The civil society actor reported that the new budget also includes the lifting of subsidies on wheat, whose price of a 50-kg sack increased from 165 SDG to 450 SDG ($23.50-$64*). As a result, the price of bread increased to 1 SDG for a single piece of bread. This has also led to the scarcity of bread, an increase in the number of closed bakeries, and long customer waiting lines.
The budget allocates 23 billion and 888 million SDG to the security and defence sector, in addition to 10 billion and 705 million SDG to the so-called public order and safety affairs. Furthermore, the budget allocates 4 billion and 170 million SDG to the Rapid Support Forces alone.
While the health sector is allocated 2 billion and 942 million SDG and education sector is allocated 5 billion and 326 million SDG. In addition, most of the budget expenditure is focused on the central Sudan (Khartoum state), which received 72 per cent of the general budget, with only 28 per cent of the budget being allocated to the remaining states.
“This budget reveals the extent of the structural imbalance of the Sudanese economy, which suffers from rampant corruption, mismanagement and misalignment of priorities,” the SDFG report stated. “In addition, these structural defects have prohibited the country’s economy to benefit from the lifting of US economic sanctions on Sudan in the middle of the previous year.”
The draft budget was presented to the Sudanese parliament at the end of last month and was approved on 31 December.
Sudan Democracy First Group launched the Sudan Transparency Initiative (STI) in March 2015, as an initiative dedicated to the study and documentation of corrupt practices and lack of transparency in Sudan, with the objective of raising awareness and mobilising citizens to demand accountability.
* Based on the official US Dollar rate quoted by the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS)