Dropping Sudanese Pound: Banks run dry, gas price soars

fuel-pump-330x24229 August 2016, Khartoum — A number of commercial bank customers in Sudan have been unable to withdraw foreign currency from their accounts. The recent sharp drop in the value of the Sudanese pounds has led to a foreign currency deficit, while Khartoum has again increased the prices for gas.

Sudan’s Central Bank has reduced the commercial banks’ shares of foreign currency into less than a quarter. According to the newspapers, bank customers now complain that they cannot withdraw US Dollars or Euros from their accounts. Several banks advertised that they have taken measures regarding the foreign currency exchange.

Meanwhile, the Nile Petroleum Company Limited announced a new increase in the prices of cooking gas in Sudan. It is an attempt to get out of the ecnomic crises by throwing the burden on citizens, according to an economic expert.

The standard price of a 12.5 kilo gas cylinder now amounts to SDG80 ($13.04) for the consumer, instead of SDG75 ($12.23). In January, the government announced a standard price rise for cylinders from SDG25 to SDG75 ($12.25). The actual price ranges per area: people in Central Darfur paid SDG85 ($14) and people in North Kordofan paid up to SDG200 ($32.40) for a gas cylinder in March.

Economic expert Dr. Sidgi Kabello told Radio Dabanga that he was surprised by the increase in Sudan, as there is a global decrease in these prices. “The government attempts to cover the costs of the waged war by increasing taxes.”

Speaking to this station, a housewife in Khartoum expressed her anger at the increase, saying it is unjustified. “A gas cylinder price in the city districts’ shops has risen to SDG100 ($16.30) since the last Ramadan. This can have a major impact on low-income people.”

Similarly, housewives in El Gedaref state denounced the current increase. “These new increases in gas prices are coupled with increases in sugar and meat prices… It will exacerbate the suffering of people,” a listener said. The price of a gas cylinder exceeds SDG120 ($19.58), she claimed.

Black markets raided

A significant drop in the value of the Sudanese pound against foreign currencies in the black market has resulted in a huge rise in the prices of essential goods and services throughout Sudan. Meat, vegetable and dairy prices sharply increased.

  • Radio Dabanga
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