Severe opposition attacks on Sudan’s 2018 budget

Sudan’s opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) had launched a severe attack on the budget of 2018, which was discussed in the National Assembly, and described it as disappointing.

Sudan’s opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) had launched a severe attack on the budget of 2018, which was discussed in the National Assembly, and described it as disappointing.

Kamal Omar, head of the Popular Congress Party caucus in Parliament told Radio Dabanga that “the budget completely contradicts the outputs of the National Dialogue,” and branded it “an explicit targeting of the poor groups”.

Omar warned of dire repercussions for the people.

He criticised to the high spending on security and military services in return for the low spending on services and development, as well as setting aside the revenues of security companies and the contradictions included in the budget.

He said that the PCP would continue to reject the budget within the Parliament despite their small number, and vowed to mobilise the Sudanese public against the government budget if it is passed.

Violation of National Dialogue

He considered the National Assembly's passing on Wednesday the decision to divide the resources by 72 per cent for the Centre compared to 28 per cent by the majority of the votes of the states as a clear violation of the outputs of the National Dialogue which provides for the allocation of 40 per cent of the resources to the states.

Omar said the result of the current vote is a negative indicator of the approach to be adopted by the ruling National Congress Party in passing the laws on freedoms expected to be voted on in the coming period

Reform Now Movement

Hassan Osman Rizig,MP representing the opposition Reform Now Movement, criticised the budget of 2018 which is discussed by Parliament in the stage of general features and warned of its dire consequences for the country.

Rizig said in an interview with Radio Dabanga that the budget relies on direct and indirect taxes by 68 per cent with weak revenues of the productive sector.

He pointed out that the three-fold increase in the US dollar exchange rate will lead to a high rise in commodity prices.

He criticised the budget for spending on the sovereign sector and the week support for the states. He played down the importance of exempting some goods from customs and taxes and pointed out that prices will rise as a result of indirect taxes.

Rizig said that the prices started to rise before the budget was even passed by the escalating complaints of owners of factories and producers about increasing electricity tariffs.

He also downplayed the importance of increasing funds for development, the exemption of production inputs from taxes and reduction and the government's commitment to support production. He wondered about the government's ability to implement this amid lack of loans and grants because of the fact that Sudan remained on the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Sudan to repeal duties on production inputs

The Ministry of Finance announced repealing of the customs duties imposed on production inputs in the fiscal year 2018 budget, the cancellation of the development tax and the additional fee estimated at 16 percent and setting the official Dollar price at 18 Pounds.

Dr Abdelrahman Dirar, the state Minister of Finance announced the intervention of the Ministry policies to control the exchange rate, ensuring that it does not adversely affect the general level of prices.

He also announced the commitment of the budget to remove the scourge of distortions in customs duties and the abolition of customs duty on all production inputs.

He also announced the reduction of tariffs on tires and spare parts from 40 per cent to 10 per cent, in addition to the exemption of local sugar from production fees.

The Director of the Central Bank of Sudan, Hazim Abdelgadir announced an agreement between the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance on the Ministry’s purchase of foreign currency, especially the US Dollar from the bank at the parallel market price instead of the official price.

The greenback currently costs SDG 28.2 on the parallel currency market.