Sudan may reinstate fuel subsidies

President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir of Sudan

President Al-Bashir

23 November 2013, Khartoum – Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) suggested Sunday that the government could reconsider a decision it implemented last September by which it scaled down fuel subsidies which raised gasoline and diesel prices by more than 60%.

Al-Mahi Khalafalla, member of the NCP economic sector, told the pro-government Ashorooq TV on Saturday that such a move is contingent upon the recommendations of Khartoum’s Second Economic Forum which is currently underway.

The two-day forum which brings together economic experts, politicians, business leaders and others seeks to find solutions to the economic troubles engulfing the east African nation.

He noted that the first forum has called for lifting subsidies as a way of addressing Sudan’s fiscal imbalances.

Sudanese officials have said that the country faces bankruptcy unless it slashes subsidies which is eating up a large chunk of the already shrinking budget.

After South Sudan’s independence in mid-2011, Khartoum lost access to more than three-quarters of the oil reserves that were the main driver of an economic boom that lasted for much of the last decade.

Since then the government has struggled with a shortage of hard currency and revenue as the pound sank in value on the widely used black market and inflation soared.

Inflation rate officially reached 40% last month.

On Saturday, the Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir has called for a battle against inflation as part of efforts to reform the country’s economy.

Bashir, who addressed the opening session of the economic forum, urged the participants to offer radical solutions for the economic crisis which brought the country to an edge of a cliff.

The president called for conducting an evaluation of the banking system and the monetary policies besides making the necessary recommendations to mitigate the impact of the economic and fiscal reform on the lower classes of the society.

He also challenged the conferees to come up with proposals that would help raise the standard of living, tackle poverty, and fight causes of prices hikes.

– Sudan Tribune

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