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‘Sudan govt. must change its economic policies’: Businessman

October 30 - 2017 KHARTOUM
A vendor sells vegetables at a local market in Khartoum North, 3 August, 2012 (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters)
A vendor sells vegetables at a local market in Khartoum North, 3 August, 2012 (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters)

The government should include independent economic analysts in its policy-making, says a leading Sudanese businessman. On Sunday, the exchange rate of the American Dollar rose to SDG 22 on the streets of Khartoum.

In an interview with Radio Dabanga to be broadcast today, Abdelhadi Ibrahim Abdallah, economist and businessman, calls for “a real change” in Sudan’s economic and investment policies.

“The government must give alternative economists the opportunity to participate in policy making, because the coming phase requires different thinking and new plans compared to the previous period,” he stated.

According to the economist, the liberalisation of the Dollar rate is will only worsen the economic crisis in Sudan. “The current liberalisation policy is a huge risk. When the government announced that the Dollar price would be raised to SDG 11 or SDG 12, it quickly rose to SDG 18 on the parallel market. Now it has reached SDG 22.

“Liberalisation of the Dollar will succeed in countries having a large productive sector and a broad variety of export products,” he explained. “The revenues of the exports will then help to resist market fluctuations.

“But Sudan is a country that relies heavily on expatriate revenues and remittances for hard currency. As we did not concentrate on production abilities, and increasingly depend on a huge volume of imports, the crisis is only growing.”

Extortion

Abdallah recommended Khartoum as well “to facilitate and monitor the official hard currency exchange channels in the country, so that investors can be assured of a stable hard currency rate”.

He pointed as well to another obstacle for foreign businessmen and companies to invest in Sudan.

“During my visits to the United Arab Emirates’ Chamber of Commerce, I met a large number of businessmen who were subjected to extortion in Sudan,” he said. “Therefore I advise any investor who wants to invest in Sudan to resort to the Chamber of Commerce and collect information about the range of corruption in Sudan.”

He recommended Khartoum “to recognise and immediately deal with these problems, to make a real beginning with successful policies”.

Scarcity

The Sudanese Pound lost much of its value since the secession of South Sudan in 2011, which pushed inflation to record levels as Sudan imports most of its food and medicines. In October last year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that Sudan's foreign exchange reserves had fallen to half a month’s worth of imports.

The rise of the US dollar on Khartoum’s black market resulting from the scarcity of hard currency was briefly halted by Washington’s lifting of a two-decade-old trade embargo against Sudan earlier this month. Yet, the rate of the Sudanese Pound soon began to drop again, as the demand for hard currency did not change.

Other economic analysts told this station as well that the government should shift its focus to the development of productive sectors and stimulate the country’s exports.  

in late September, the IMF reported that the economic conditions in Sudan “remain challenging”.


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