Do the decisions of Al-Burhan address the economic situation of the Sudanese citizen?

While some Western countries and financial institutions took an immediate decision to freeze financial and economic aid to Sudan, hours after the army commander, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, declared a state of emergency in the country, news spread of a significant decline in the prices of basic commodities in the markets of the capital, Khartoum, especially car fuel.

The prices of consumer goods rose significantly two weeks after protesters closed the Port Sudan port on the Red Sea last October, the only sea port for the incoming and outgoing movement and foreign trade of Sudan, which lasted for 37 days.

The protesters also closed the national road linking the east of the country with the other states of the country, and the closure continued for more than a week after Al-Burhan’s decision to dissolve the transitional government institutions on October 25, one of the demands of the protesters in the east of the country.

Politics Effects

Citizens and retailers told Al Jazeera Net, during its tour of some markets in the cities of the national capital and its survey of cities in other states, that a noticeable decrease had occurred in the commodities of sugar and bread flour since last week. At the height of the eastern crisis, sugar prices amounted to 1,000 Sudanese pounds per kilogram, and fell to 400 pounds, and before the Eastern crisis were about 300 pounds per kilogram (a dollar equals approximately 438 pounds).

The prices of bread flour decreased from 800 Sudanese pounds per kilogram to 600 pounds after the last procedures, and before the crisis it was about 350 pounds.

Retailers confirmed to Al Jazeera Net that the prices of the rest of the consumer goods did not change, and the prices of medicines remained on the rise without any decline after the recent proof procedures.

The Central Bank of Sudan announced a decline in inflation rates in August to 412.7% and in September to 387.56%, after it reached its highest rate following the announcement of the economic reforms program to reach 422.75% last July.

The economic expert, Dr. Hindi Awad, accused the military component of the disbanded transitional authority of restricting the civilian government, taking advantage of its control over strategic stock goods through the army’s companies. He told Al Jazeera Net that the prices of sugar and bread flour will rise again after a while when the strategic stock is exhausted.

Awad pointed out that the Central Bank has reserves of foreign currencies that exceeded two billion dollars, as well as gold, which could help the current authority work to alleviate the living hardship for a limited period, adding that the new authority will use the army and gold export companies to bridge the gap, but he warned against the ineffectiveness of these Economic policies in the short and medium term, in light of the freezing of aid and grants announced earlier by the international community.

In turn, Professor of Economics at the National University, Dr. Mona Abbas, does not expect an improvement in the citizens’ pension level due to the repercussions of the army commander’s recent actions, and she told Al Jazeera Net that the economic situation, which has begun to witness stability in recent months, will begin to decline, noting that she did not witness any significant decline in commodity prices. .

The disappearance of subsidized bread

Hamed Idris, the owner of a bakery in the North Bahri region, told Al Jazeera Net that the prices of bread flour witnessed a significant increase due to the closure of eastern Sudan and the cessation of imports. He added that the price of a 25-kilogram package of flour rose from 7,500 to 14,000 pounds.

Idris revealed that the distribution of subsidized bread flour at a price of 700 pounds has decreased to less than a ton per week for the bakery, at a time when commercial flour is available in large quantities. The price of a piece of subsidized bread is only 5 pounds, and the price of a piece of commercial bread is 30 pounds.

Citizens in the states of Kassala, White Nile, Red Sea, Blue Nile and other regions complained to Al Jazeera Net about the lack of subsidized bread, and said that they had to buy bread at the commercial price despite its high prices.

The Minister in charge of the government of the Red Sea State, Mahmoud Ali Bashir, told Al-Jazeera Net that there are indications that the situation will return to normal after the opening of the East Road and the return of work movement in the main port. He added that the city of Port Sudan is now witnessing stability in the availability of basic commodities, but their prices have not decreased.

The minister added that the closure of the port for a period of 37 days affected people’s pension, pointing out that all civil works are related to the movement of work in the port, revealing that the port loses about 25 million dollars per day due to the closure.

According to the Ministry of Finance, Sudan consumes two million tons of wheat annually, locally produces about 17% of the total consumption, and imports more than 80% of its needs.

In the context, there was no change in the prices of oil products, after news that a gallon of gasoline had fallen to 800 pounds from about 1500 pounds, and one of the workers in car service stations said that the prices of oil products are linked to international prices after the decision to liberalize their price, so its price will be lower. Subject to world prices.

Sudan is forced to cover a gap of 60% of its oil needs by importing, and Sudan produces 70,000 barrels of oil per day and needs to double production to cover the large gap in consumption, according to the Sudanese Ministry of Energy.

Debt and international support

The first files that will confront Al-Burhan and the new authority is how to restore the confidence of the international community and financial institutions to move forward with the economic support plans promised by Sudan. The international community had greatly welcomed the transformations that took place in Sudan following the victory of the December revolution and the fall of the regime of ousted President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019.

Sudan began to restore its normal position among the countries of the world by leaving the US list of countries sponsoring terrorism, which opened the door for it to gain access to the granting of financial institutions, the return of banking transactions to normal, and access to exemption from the accumulated debts, which amounted to nearly 60 billion dollars.

Several economic indicators revealed the beginning of the recovery and stability of the Sudanese economy after the implementation of the reform plan, and the pound’s exchange rate stabilized against foreign currencies, and the inflation rate indicator began to decline.

Hindi Awad tells Al Jazeera Net that financial institutions and some countries have already started freezing the aid and grants that they had previously approved, and added that Germany had issued a decision to stop its dealings with Sudanese banks after it described it as a “military coup” in Sudan.

The United States froze $700 million in aid, and the World Bank followed suit with freezing a $2 billion grant, at a time when the International Monetary Fund announced it was closely monitoring Sudan’s situation to take the next step.

Awad expected to freeze the steps that began in the direction of exempting Sudan from its foreign debts, which have come a long way, after the Paris Club group announced the exemption of 19 billion dollars out of a total of 23 billion dollars for Sudan and scheduling the rest over years.

Dr. Mona Abbas told Al Jazeera Net that “the most important achievements of the December revolution are Sudan’s economic openness to the world, its return to the banking system, and the exemption from foreign debts,” as she put it.

She warned against the country’s return to before the revolution after the recent measures of the Sudanese army commander Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, and said that Sudan needs the international community in order to support projects to rehabilitate infrastructure and technology for economic advancement and stability of the situation, which will be reflected on people’s livelihood, as she described it.

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