Sudan opposition slams lifting of fuel subsidies

President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir of Sudan18 September 2013, Khartoum — The Sudanese opposition National Consensus Forces, NCF, has strongly rejected the government’s intention to lift subsidies on fuel, claiming that the government has in fact already raised the fuel prices.

Kamal Omar Abdelsalam, the spokesman for the NCF pointed out to Radio Dabanga that the intended removal on fuel subsidies confirms the failure of the Khartoum government. He accused the government of trading with the Sudanese people’s food, while it is holding the citizens responsible for its economic failure. Abdelsalam added that the government’s budget is a reflection of its economic failure, due to the expenses of the wars it is waging against its peoples.

The NCF spokesman explained that, before the implementation of the so-called ‘lifting of subsidies on fuel’, the government had raised the price of the dollar used to handle customs. “The customs’ price of the dollar is actually the value with which the government sells the dollar to the importers of commodities and ‘required goods’. So the raise in dollar price is reflected in the prices of medicines, agricultural inputs and spare parts which in turn is reflected in the market prices.”

Abdelsalam furthermore described the current trend of media coverage as an attempt of advocating the government’s retreat from lifting subsidies. “It is just an attempt to numb and fool the Sudanese people.”

The Sudanese Communist Party has described the government’s “repeated lies of lifting the subsidies on fuel” as a cover up of its inability to control the annual budget. Siddiq Yusuf, member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, told Radio Dabanga that everyone knows that ‘the regime’ does not subsidise commodities, especially oil derivatives.

The government is “inherently incapable, “due to its authoritarian hostility against the people, to cut its excessive spending”. Also it does it see any source of finance, except for “the pockets of the citizens who are already stricken by the hardships of livelihood.”

Yusuf added that the government’s goal behind the increase in prices is to finance its excessive spending for “the pillars of the regime, its security apparatus and the wars it triggered in Darfur, South and North Kordofan, and the Blue Nile state. He reiterated that the government does not subsidise fuel, electricity, sugar, or any other commodity, and stressed that the solution is democracy, only to be achieved by the “overthrow of the regime”.

The Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), a coalition between the rebel groups in Darfur, South Kordofan and the Blue Nile state, has also rejected any removal of subsidies on fuel as well as an increase of prices.

In a statement issued after the meeting of its leadership board, headed by Malik Agar, the SRF stressed that any increase in prices means “the regime’s declaration of a comprehensive war against the honourable people of Sudan”.

Abulgasim Imam El Haj, the secretary of media and the spokesman for the SRF told Radio Dabanga that “the lifting of subsidies on fuel and the increase of the prices of goods and services is a part of the systematic looting by the government of its own people”. The SRF leadership calls it a new kind of genocide, and has directed all Sudanese “to go out to the streets to protest against these ill-conceived economic policies and call for an overthrow of the regime”.

– Radio Dabanga

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