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Khartoum governor says working to contain rising food prices

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July 8, 2010 (KHARTOUM) — The governor of Khartoum state Abdel-Rahman Al-Khidir today vowed to stop the rising food prices including white meat and vegetables through working with producers to make it affordable to the general public.

Al-Khidir addressing a workshop of productive families , organized by the Committee for Social Affairs and the Economic and Financial Committee at Khartoum Legislative Council gave an example of chicken which he said should not exceed seven pounds per one if it wasn’t for growing demand.

The governor speaking at a separate workshop sponsored by the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) said that the governorate will implement several programmes that focus on encouraging agriculture and creating a strategic reserve for food items to fill any gaps in the future.

He further stressed the importance of strengthening the local currency, lower inflation and prevent monopolies by food producers and distributers which led to a sharp increase in sugar prices recently.

The agriculture minister at the Khartoum governorate Sideeg Al-Sheik noted that limited budget allocated for agriculture and weak use of advanced irrigation techniques led to reduced supply of vegetables such as tomatoes leading to rising prices.

Al-Sheik further said that low rain and Nile water levels contributed to the crisis along with low storage capacity including refrigerators because of high electricity prices.

The finance minister in Khartoum state Mohamed Yousif said that he established a taskforce to examine the causes of rising prices in 37 items which concluded that the 15% inflation rate, low productivity and high demand led to this situation.

There is growing frustration in the country with regard to growing cost of livings particularly in a country where most people live below poverty levels. The Sudanese pound has steadily depreciated in value versus the U.S. dollar which directly impacts the cost of importing the goods.

The government imposed restrictions on selling hard currency and closed down several forex bureaux saying they violated currency exchange rules.

(ST)

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