July 4, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) on Wednesday ended speculations on the size of the country’s upcoming ’austerity’ cabinet, saying it will be composed of 26 portfolios after the elimination of 9 ministries occupied by NCP members without touching the shares of other parties.
- The NCP’s Vice-Chairman and Presidential Assistant Nafie Ali Nafie
In a meeting chaired by President Omer al-Bashir in the capital Khartoum, the NCP’s leadership bureau decided to reduce the number of ministries from 31 to 26 as well as the number of state ministers to 12.
The resolution eliminated five portfolios by merging the Ministry of International Cooperation into the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It also annexed the Ministry of Labor into the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Telecommunications into the Ministry of Sciences and Technology.
Furthermore, the resolution spoke of a merger between the Ministries of Media, Culture and Religious Guidance.
The reductions in the cabinet are part of wider austerity measures that the Sudanese government has recently adopted to confront the country’s economic crisis which resulted from losing 75 percent of its oil production following South Sudan’s secession.
The austerity measures also included termination of fuel subsides, which sparked a wave of nationwide protests to which the authorities responded with force and detained more than 1000 people, according to activist groups.
Speaking to reporters following the meeting, NCP’s Vice-Chairman and presidential assistant Nafie Ali Nafie pointed out that five NCP ministers will leave their positions but he declined to identify them.
Responding to reporters questions on the expectations that the government was going to announce a more slender cabinet, Nafie said: “We hoped to do that but preserving national unity and participation in power dictated otherwise”.