Sudan’s PM Acknowledges Economic Crisis, Vows Action
The Sudanese government admitted to facing a number of difficulties and economic challenges as a result of inflation and vowed action. But leader of the opposition, Sadiq al-Mahdi, criticized response measures, saying they will lead to price hikes and result in popular protests.
In his first speech since being sworn in as prime minister in September, Moataz Moussa told parliament that economic challenges have had a negative impact on the country’s political and economic situation.
After taking office, he announced “shock” policies meant to address economic imbalances and create a new Central Bank subsidiary, known as the Committee of Market Makers.
Among the committee’s first decisions was to drop the Sudanese pound’s value by nearly 60 percent.
The US dollar now trades officially for 47.5 Sudanese pounds, almost double the former rate of 28 pounds per dollar.
Al-Mahdi strongly opposed the government floating the national currency, saying that it has surrendered to parallel markets.
Black markets were trading the dollar for 46 pounds. Observers said that willingly dropping exchange rates have partially liberalized the currency, noting that in parallel markets the dollar now sells for 48.8 pounds.
According to Moussa, who is also the Minister of Finance, economic challenges facing his government have increased inflation rates that in turn created a large gap between official and parallel markets. The gap is held responsible for the national budget deficit and the struggle of citizens.
He added the economic crisis facing the country led to a sharp fall in Sudan's oil revenues after the secession of the South. It also suffered under US economic sanctions, illegal immigration, arms trade and smuggling of goods.
Sudan also faces scarcity of domestic resources.
The official pledged to enforce an ambitious plan aimed at easing costs of living and addressing economic hurdles within the remaining time of 2018 and fiscal year 2019.
Sudan faces a severe liquidity crisis, but Moussa revealed emergency measures the government will take to provide sufficient cash flow. Four shipments of banknotes printed outside the country will soon arrive, he announced.
Addressing lawmakers, Moussa pledged to back fuel prices and support major commodities.