Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Sudan: Bread, Fuel Queues Return

Sudan: Bread, Fuel Queues Return

Saturday, 10 August, 2019 - 09:15
People stand in a queue on July 31, 2019 outside a bakery in el-Obeid, Sudan (File Photo / AFP)

Bread and fuel queues are re-emerging in Sudan, despite government assurances that wheat and gasoline are available in the country and enough to cover the needs till the end of 2019.

The Sudanese government received 540,000 tons of wheat covering the total needs of the country, prompting the Sudanese Bakeries Union to say the bread queues were “unwarranted.”

Asharq Al-Awsat toured Khartoum and saw citizens and children crowding around bakeries, where it took a small family over two hours to buy bread.

Some bakeries close at prayer and fast breaking times, while others close due to electricity issues or taxes.

Men and women standing in rows usually end up fighting, especially that bakeries’ production decreased forcing them to limit the amount of bread sold to 20 pieces per buyer.

Former Secretary-General of the Bakeries Union Badereddine Mohammed Ahmed al-Jalal asserted there was absolutely no problem in providing bread.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat that the bread rows were “an uncivilized manifestation” and revealed the suffering of people.

The same problem resurfacing in less than six months indicates there is a major flaw in the provision of citizens' needs, topped by the issue of the bread.

Jalal said that there are negative factors contributing to the crises, such as the deterioration in infrastructure in the country, which is causing the disruption of the movement of trucks providing cities and regions with wheat flour.

The trucks also face other problems such as fuel shortage and power outage which all affect bread distribution for every citizen in Sudan.

He cited that Khartoum consumes about 100,000 pieces of bread a day and distributes to bakeries between 45 and 50,000 bags of wheat a day. He also noted that the amounts sold remained the same during the past six months.

Sudan has been facing a bread crisis for nearly a year, which caused violent protests, leading to a revolution which resulted in the formation of a civil government.

The former Sudanese government lifted flour subsidies at a commercial price of about SDD850 for the bag and SDD560 for subsided wheat, creating a scarcity of wheat and bread flour in some areas.

This has become a phenomenon inherent in the country's economy, despite the promises of the previous government to ensure self-sufficiency of wheat and expand its cultivation, which fell short of the ambitions.

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