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Sudan Seeks to Raise Salaries amid High Inflation

Sudan Seeks to Raise Salaries amid High Inflation

Wednesday, 9 October, 2019 - 12:15
People stand outside Bank of Khartoum branch
Khartoum - Ahmed Khalil

Living conditions in Sudan continue to deteriorate amid high inflation, fuel and bread scarcity and a severe public transport crisis, despite the toppling of president Omar al-Bashir in April.

The minimum wage in the country is SDG425, equivalent to approximately nine dollars, which barely covers 20 percent of living costs, making life unbearable.

Successive crises in basic goods and services led to demonstrations in December 2018 and culminated with Bashir’s overthrow.

The performance report 2019, issued by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, a copy of which was received by Asharq Al-Awsat, revealed that the disbursement of salaries amounted to SDG58.6 billion (about $1.3 billion) in December 2018.

The ministry announced that by mid-2020, the authorities would launch a process on “institutional reform and wage raise.”

Sudanese citizen Khaleda Ahmed told Asharq Al-Awsat that she is facing difficulties in obtaining basic goods despite minimizing her family's expenses.

“The situation is unbearable,” she said, adding that “commodities have become very expensive while wages remain unchanged.”

Employee Tarek Haidar also said that he’s no longer able to provide for his family.

“Our financial capabilities and our wages cannot withstand the price hike,” he told the newspaper.

Despite raises in salaries announced by the now defunct government in its 2019 budget by SDG500 (about $11) for those with the minimum wage, and SDG2,500 ($55.6) for retirees, the gap between needs and incomes is still huge.

In a study, the Sudanese Wage Council determined that a family of six needs a minimum of SDG8992 ($200) per month in order to survive.

Despite the low wages, Ministry of Finance data showed that the total volume of salary increases for workers and pensioners amounted to SDG15 billion ($333 million) in the 2019 budget, with a deficit of more than SDG54 billion ($1.2 billion).

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