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Sudan's deficit grows to SDG19.5 billion: Finance Minister

December 9 - 2016 KHARTOUM
Finance Minister Badreldin Mahmoud Abas (file photo)
Finance Minister Badreldin Mahmoud Abas (file photo)

On Tuesday the Finance Minister, Badreldin Mahmoud Abbas, said that the deficit in the state budget for 2017 will rise to SDG19.5 billion, from the SDG13.3 billion deficit in 2016. New salary increases are not commensurate with the recent rise in fuel and commodity prices, employees complained.

Economists have attributed the growing budget deficit (in 2014, it was SDG12 billion) to the rise of spending by the government, as well as the slack in the state administration, larger spending on the military and security sector, the wars, the collapse of the production infrastructure for in Sudan, and the non-availability of cash reserves.

Meanwhile new salary increases have caused disappointment among employees. Speaking from Kassala, eastern Sudan, listeners complained that the salaries are not commensurate with the rise in commodity and fuel prices after the recent economic measures.

Economic expert Dr Feisal Hassan Awad questioned the figures presented by the Finance Minister in his report to the Parliament on Tuesday.

In an interview with Radio Dabanga, Awad said he doubts the trade deficit of SDG3.6 billion, the imports worth SDG6.7 billion, exports of SDG3.1 billion, and a GDP growth of 5.3 per cent for 2017. “The figures are unfounded. International and regional economic reports reveal the reality of the situation in Sudan.”

He explained that the deterioration of living conditions and the price of the Sudanese Pound against foreign currencies as “testament to the lack of validity of these figures in the report of the Minister”.

The ongoing shortages of hard currency at the Central Bank of Sudan continued to push the black market rate of the US Dollar upwards this year. Last month the exchange rate increased to SDG18 on the parallel markets.

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