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Sudan’s ATMs, banks running on empty

April 11 - 2019 KHARTOUM / EL GEDAREF
A deserted ATM of the Bank of Khartoum, in Wad Madani, El Gezira (File photo)
A deserted ATM of the Bank of Khartoum, in Wad Madani, El Gezira (File photo)

The ongoing shortage of cash in Sudan is deepening. ATMs have been empty for week, and banks simply have no available cash for the public to withdraw.

Many callers tell Radio Dabanga that cash has become impossible to get even a small amounts to spend on daily needs.

A number of residents of El Gedaref in eastern Sudan confirmed the lack of cash in the bank on Tuesday and Wednesday, explaining that the buying and selling has virtually ground to a halt in the markets.

The Central Bank of Sudan announced its intention to issue a new category of currency worth SDG 1,000 to deal with the cash expected to enter into circulation during the month of July.

Liquidity crisis

Public anger in Sudan has been building up over price rises and other economic hardships, including expensive bread, fuel and medicines, as well as limits on cash withdrawals over a liquidity crisis.

Over the past few months, as the value of the Sudanese Pound has dropped steadily against the US Dollar. In December 2018, the Central Bank of Sudan issued a decision to set the limit of cash withdrawals by bank card at ATMs. The recent printing of new currency by the Central Bank of Sudan has been necessitated by hyperinflation, coupled with a chronic shortage of hard cash. Banks have limited cash withdrawals so traders and the public prefer to keep their cash at home, rather than deposit it into banks.

The most recent reports reaching Radio Dabanga say that a large proportion of ATMs in Khartoum state have been out of service for more weeks, making it difficult for people to access their salaries.

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