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Sudan Finance Minister: Education budget exceeds that of defence

January 20 - 2021 KHARTOUM
Nuba school children in a school in Omdurman (RD)
Nuba school children in a school in Omdurman (RD)

In a joint meeting yesterday, the Sovereign Council and the Council of Ministers approved this year’s National Budget for 2021.

Acting Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Heba Mohamed said in a press conference following the meeting that an amount of SDG 137 billion, 12.5 per cent of the budget, is reserved for education.

This represents an increase of 170 per cent compared to the education budget of last year. For the first time, the education budget exceeds the defence budget, , she said.

Nine per cent of the 2021 budget, about SDG 99 billion, is allocated to the health sector, which includes support for life-saving medicines, the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and the rehabilitation and expansion of rural hospitals and health centres.

The amount of SDG 260 billion has been allocated for “social protection and pensions”.

The Finance Minister further stated that SDG 54.1 billion has been reserved for the implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement, signed by the government and the Sudan Revolutionary Front on October 3 last year.

The Forces for Freedom and Change and the Communist Party of Sudan have more than once criticised the draft budget.

According to reports based on leaked information about the 2021 National Budget in end December, the expenditure on the security and defence sector would reach SDG 201.5 billion, while the education budget would be reduced to SDG 6.2 billion.

In an interview with Radio Dabanga on January 10, Mohamed Sheikhoun, member of the FFC Economic Committee, accused the Finance Minister of presenting incorrect information about the 2021 education budget. “The 2021 defence budget amounts to SDG 89.82 billion, which is an increase of 173 per cent compared to last year, while education will have a budget of 16.2 billion, an increase of only nine per cent,” he claimed, and warned for an economic collapse if the budget would not be revised.

Sudanese online media outlets reported today that the hard currency rates again jumped to new record highs. The Dollar sold for SDG 295 this morning, compared with SDG 280 six days ago.

The daily middle US Dollar rate quoted by the Central Bank of Sudan remains SDG 55.1375.

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