01 January 2014, Khartoum – The Sudanese Finance Minister, Badreldin Mahmoud Abbas, announced on Monday that Sudan has prepared a number of arrangements to compensate for oil revenues in case the oil production in South Sudan is suspended. Over the weekend petrol stations in Khartoum again suffered from a shortage of petrol.
The Finance Minister said in the National Assembly that “even if the oil production in South Sudan stops, we have prepared ‘first aid’ arrangements to compensate for the loss. We will deal with this issue without imposing new taxes or increase in prices, but will reduce government spending, and we will take other measures in due time”.
The phenomenon of cars queuing in front of petrol stations in Khartoum returned since the beginning of this week, with many buses waiting to tank diesel. Workers at petrol stations in Khartoum commented that the quantities of petrol supplied on Friday and Saturday were much less than usual.
A Sudanese Member of Parliament denied that the fighting in South Sudan was the cause of the fuel crisis. Omar Rahma, the head of the Sudanese parliament’s energy committee denied that the fighting in South Sudan was the cause of the new fuel crisis. He said that the shortage in the supply quantities to the petrol stations was caused by the delay of crude oil refining operations in the Khartoum oil refinery.
The South Sudanese Minister of Information, Michael Makuei, last week said that Riek Machar’s adherents seized control of all the oil fields in Unity State. The oil produced in South Sudan is exported by pipes through Sudanese territory to be shipped in Port Sudan. South Sudan pays fixed transit fees to Sudan for the passage of the oil.The Sudanese parliament on Sunday passed the 2014 budget, which has a deficit of SDG12 billion ($2.09 billion).
The International Monetary Fund estimated that Sudan will receive $1.5 billion from oil transit fees and from compensation agreed on for the loss of oil revenues after South Sudan became an independent state in July 2011.
The Sudanese Finance Minister of State, Majdi Hassan Yasin told reporters that “the South Sudan oil revenues projected in the 2014 budget are SDG5.7 billion ($1 billion)”.
In September this year the Sudanese government lifted subsidies on fuel, which led to general price increases by 66 percent and to demonstrations in which reportedly more than two hundred people died.
– Radio Dabanga