Sudanese Finance Minister: ’Time has come to lift the sanctions’
The dire situation in the country requires the lifting of US sanctions on Khartoum, Sudan’s Minister of Finance told the participants of the Sudan International Partners Forum in Khartoum on Thursday. The Sudanese Peace Commissioner expressed his hope that the international community will support the peace processes in the country.
Addressing the Sudan International Partners Forum in Khartoum on Thursday morning, Minister Ibrahim El Badawi pointed to Sudan's debts amounting to $ 54 billion.
This is twice the gross domestic product if calculated on the basis of the parallel price of the Dollar, he said. The dire economic situation has severely affected the people in the country, in particular the youth.
The minister further explained that government spending will be rationalised according to priorities of the citizens. The 2020 budget, financed by Friends of Sudan, will focus on developing the agricultural sector, salary increases, addressing the flour and fuel crises, and preparing a transition from commodity support to the support of all Sudanese.
Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok has asked the World Bank for $2 billion to stabilise and rebuild the economy, but as long as Sudan is on the US State Sponsors of Terrorism, the country can get no support from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
“The US should not continue punishing the Sudanese people for a sin committed by the former regime, a regime that the Sudanese people toppled,” he said in his speech to the UN General Assembly in New York on September 27.
Washington imposed sanctions on Sudan in 1993 for “repeatedly providing support for acts of international terrorism”. Some of the sanctions have been lifted since October 2017.
Peace Commissioner Suleiman Debeilo addressed the Sudan International Partners Forum as well. He explained that the Sudanese Peace Commission is responsible for implementing issues related to the peace process, including transitional justice, reconstruction of war-affected areas, land issues, tribal conflicts and peaceful coexistence.
The realisation of peace requires a strong foundation to develop the marginalised regions of Darfur, the Two Areas (South Kordofan and Blue Nile state), and eastern Sudan, as well as a mechanism for resolving conflicts, he said.
Priority issues include making plans to implement the peace agreements, reconstruction, and registering the displaced people living in camps, towns, and reconstruction of areas destroyed during the wars.
Debeilo said he hopes the international community will support the peace processes.
On Thursday, Minister El Badawi also addressed the Enlightenment Workshop on the 2020 Budget, co-organised by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and the Sudanese Professionals Association in Khartoum.
He promised that no new taxes will be raised in the coming year, the Sudan News Agency (SUNA) reported on Thursday.
The ministry is seeking to improve the salaries, to create jobs, and to implement an integrated social protection programme
El Badawi further said that through its strategic location, Sudan qualifies to become an economic power that will serve the countries of the region. He pointed to concerted efforts to address the current crises, by plans to stabilise the exchange rates and reduce inflation, to benefit from Sudan’s manpower, including 60 per cent youth, and to diversify the agriculture in the country.
He further pointed to the need to rehabilitate the infrastructure in the country, to empower the private sector, attract foreign investment, and to focus on the animal resources sector.
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