US Dollar rate, prices continue to rise in Sudan
Sudanese in various parts of the country complain about the continued rising of the prices. The US Dollar reached SDG 34.5 at the black market in Khartoum on Sunday. Today, MPs will discuss the situation with Ministers responsible for the economic sector.
“The market has gone crazy,” a government employee told Radio Dabanga from Khartoum. “Every day we wake up with news about even higher prices of tea, sugar, oil, and other food items.”
He said that the price of fava beans, an important staple food, nearly doubled. “And the price of purified water has risen with 67 per cent, soft drinks with about 50 per cent.”
Over the weekend, Radio Dabanga received multiple complaints about “unprecedented price hikes” in North Darfur and in El Gezira.
A father of six in El Medina Arab in El Gezira said he was unable to provide half a pound of sugar to his family.
The shortage of hard currency and the economic instability are still pushing the Dollar rate upwards at the black market. A forex trader told this station on Sunday that the US Dollar reached SDG 34.5. This means an increase of six Pounds in less than two weeks.
“We need to understand the reasons for the unjustified increases at the markets in order to develop solutions.” - Head of parliamentary Industry and Trade Committee
In early January, the Sudanese markets were hit by the consequences of financial measures taken by the government based on the 2018 National Budget.
In an attempt to halt the steadily increasing hard currency rate at the black market, the government raised the customs rate of the Dollar from SDG 6.7 to SDG 18.
The prices of the main consumer goods immediately doubled or even tripled. As the government completely cut its wheat subsidies and leave the import of this basic commodity to private companies, the price of wheat flour increased with by 233 per cent.
The Budget further includes plans to reduce the inflation rate from 34 per cent to 19 per cent. But according to a Sudanese economist, the real inflation rate in the country “exceeds 50 per cent”.
Experts have criticised the budget as well for relying mainly on levies and taxes to cover its deficit, the allocation of a high percentage to the army, security service and paramilitary forces - just as in former years.
Economists expect the inflation to rise with 39 per cent this month, along with an increase of the already high unemployment rates.
On Monday, federal Ministers responsible for the economic sector will appear before members of the parliamentary Industry and Trade Committee and other prominent parliamentarians to discuss the economic situation and the surge in the prices of basic consumer goods at the Sudanese markets.
“We need to understand the reasons for the unjustified increases at the markets in order to develop solutions,” Abdallah Ali Masar, head of the Committee told reporters in Khartoum last week.
In early January MPs of opposition parties expressed their dissatisfaction with the financial measures, and planned to continue their protests. The Minister of Finance was supposed to appear at the parliament last week.
The publishers of Sudanese newspapers have decided to increase the price of a daily copy from SDG 4 ($ 0.57*) to SDG 5 ($ 0.71), in order to meet the increased printing costs and taxes.
In a meeting on Sunday, the publishers called on the government to help them combat the difficulties they are facing because of the price hikes.
The publishers further proposed the suspension of the circulation of news and reports from the daily paper press on websites, social networks, and television channels before 5 pm, to enhance the sale of the newspapers.
* Based on the official US Dollar rate quoted by the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS)
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