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Sudan's Bashir: 'We pay political price for financial measures'

November 15 - 2016 KHARTOUM / ABU JUBEIHA
President Omar Al Bashir of Sudan (file photo)
President Omar Al Bashir of Sudan (file photo)

A historically low exchange rate for the Sudanese pound marks the effects of recent economic measures. President Omar Al Bashir has justified the lifting of fuel subsidies for fear of the collapse of the State.

“We have two options: either the collapse of the State or to increase the prices,” the President said during a meeting with the high commanders of the Sudanese army on Monday. His spokesman told the press that the President knows that these procedures “will cost us a political price and we are not afraid to do so”.

The Sudanese opposition has described Al Bashir's rhetoric as empty. “The government will be moving toward war through these economic measures,” the spokesman for the Sudan Appeal alliance of opposition parties and armed movements told Radio Dabanga.

'These measures mean more displacement and suffering in war zones.'

Mohamed Farouq Suleiman added that the government's decision to lift fuel subsidies and increase electricity tarriffs will reflect negatively on the country, by sparking more fighting in the peripheral states that represent the areas of production.

“The biggest cost of these measures will be paid by the residents of the war zones. Which means more displacement, refugees, and suffering of the people in South Kordofan, Darfur and the Blue Nile.”

Farmers in El Gezira and El Managil, Sudan's largest agriculture production area, fear that the current and coming agricultural season are under threat. The huge rise of expenditures and production costs have made it difficult for farmers to begin preparing their land for the winter season.

Countrywide, the prices for airlines, bus transportation and consumer goods increased sharply. In response to last week's demonstrations and detentions of protesters, Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman said that the decision to lift subsidies on fuel is not new, but was agreed upon in 2013, and that this is just the actual implementation.

Pound historically low

The rate of the Sudanese Pound has continued to deteriorate as the US Dollar amounted to SDG18 in the parallel market on Monday morning. 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, including a halt on the import of certain types of consumer goods.

Listeners in Abu Jubeiha, South Kordofan, confirmed to this station that consumer goods have become more expensive in the market. Also prices of sugar and medicines have increased, while domestic agricultural products have become cheaper.

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