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Sudan opts for free wheat and flour trade

October 3 - 2016 KHARTOUM
A Sudanese woman holds some pieces of bread (file photo)
A Sudanese woman holds some pieces of bread (file photo)

The Sudanese Minister of Finance announced on Saturday that the government will withdraw from the international wheat and flour market, and open the door for free import of the food staples.

Minister Badreldin Mahmoud said that the new measure will not require any specifications from suppliers.

In addition, the authorities will end the control over the domestic wheat and flour market. The minimum weight for a piece of bread will be abolished.

At a meeting of Finance Ministers of the Sudanese states and their senior assistants regarding the 2017 National Budget, Mahmoud stated that the federal government will continue to review salary policies, and address possible gaps in these policies.

The budget for “the defence forces and security organs” will not be altered.

Wheat shortages

In mid-2015, bakeries in Khartoum and a number of other Sudanese states experienced a shortage of flour, after the Sudanese milling companies reduced the daily flour quotas in March. The costs of wheat import continue to rise as a result of the ongoing fall of the Sudanese Pound against the US dollar on the ‘parallel market’ since 2012.

Early 2016, the country experienced a bread crisis again. The Head of the Bakers' Union in Sudan said in January that the country imports wheat worth about $1.4 billion.

A report by the Central Bank of Sudan mentioned a growing deficit in the trade balance of the country by the end of 2014. Exports amounted to $4.35 billion, while imports grew to $9.21 billion adding to a deficit of up to $4.86 billion.

Measures

The Sudanese government recently agreed to a package of measures proposed by the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Sudan to curb the fast rise of the US Dollar on the black market during the past five months.

Decisions to stop the import of certain types of consumer goods, “in order to reduce the importation bill”, will include types of cars, children's toys, plastic pots, ornamental trees, and some varieties of vegetables and fruits.

Finance Minister Badreldin Mahmoud announced as well that his Ministry will refrain from intervening in the exchange rate of the Sudanese Pound against the foreign currency.


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