Home | News    Wednesday 12 December 2012

Sudan’s labor union doesn’t buy 2013 budget, calls it too rosy

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December 11, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The head of Sudan’s labor union scoffed at the government’s 2013 budget proposal saying it is based on unrealistic figures and expressed doubt over the deficit and inflation targets included in it.

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Sudan’s Finance Minister Ali Mahmoud Abdel-Rasool (REUTERS/ Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

In press statements at the national assembly on Tuesday Ibrahim Ghandour, who also heads the ruling National Congress Party external relations sector, again reiterated the union’s demand that wage increases be incorporated in the upcoming budget that is currently being deliberated in parliament after being submitted by the government last week.

Ghandour rejected finance ministry assertions that the government cannot afford raising wages because of the deficit.

"Workers make up [only] 3% of the population and a lot of items [were] funded [in the budget] but once it became about workers the minister started talking about the deficit," he said.

He disclosed that the labor union’s central commission will meet next week for a "decisive" meeting on the issue of wages.

The Sudanese finance minister and other officials are arguing that there is simply not enough money to fund wage increases in the budget and that to do so they will have to further lift subsidies on fuel.

Sudan has been adopting a contractionary fiscal policy since the oil-rich south became an independent state on July 2011. The new state retained 75% of the oilfields which provided most of Sudan’s income, exports and foreign currency inflow.

Oil now accounts for 3-5% of Sudan’s GDP, down from around 15% , while providing a much-reduced 20-25% of revenue, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a recent report. The latter also said that Sudan’s GDP is projected to shrink by -11.1% this year and -0.6% in 2013.

The 2013 budget projects 25.2 billion Sudanese pounds (SDG) in revenues and 35.0 billion SDG in expenses leaving a deficit of 10 billion SDG ($1.5 billion) which equals 3.4% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The budget targets an inflation rate of 22% and an exchange rate of 4.42 to the dollar.
But Ghandour sounded sckeptical over these numbers and noted that the amended budget adopted last July forecasts 21% inflation rate and an exchange rate of 4.4 Sudanese pound to the dollar.

The latest annual inflation rate stands at 46.5% and the dollar trades at 6.50 in the black market.

" Where does the fault lies in reaching these flawed indicators? We expected deep measures to address where the mistake lies which resulted in big discrepancies between the finance [ministry] projections either in annual or amended budgets and is it an error in policies or estimates?" Ghandour asked.

He warned against raising people’s expectations because of these figures without any impact on the ground and called for submitting a budget based on "real numbers".

"The most optimistic [person] expects [Sudan] to record a 1.5% monthly deficit to reach 70% in September 2013," Ghandour said.

CLASH OF TWO MINISTERS

In a related issue the finance minister Ali Mahmoud Abdel-Rasool clashed with the minister of Social Welfare Amira al-Fadil at the parliament over subsidies to poor families and raising the minimum pension figures.

Abdel-Rasool dismissed the demand saying that no additional allocations will be made to poor families without ensuring its conformity with the law.

The minister stressed that pension funds must contribute to raising the pension rates and accused these funds of setting money aside as opposed to sending it back to the treasury.

He slammed al-Fadil accusing her of seeking a publicity stunt in parliament despite discussing the same issue at the cabinet meetings.

Al-Fadil complained at the parliamentary meeting that budget the excluded support for poor families and raising the minimum wage. She accused the finance minister of reneging on commitment to support 100,000 families and merely approved support for ten months and at 100 Sudanese pounds monthly per family as opposed to 250.

The finance minister however said that raising the minimum wage will cost 5.2 billion and will have to be funded by either raising taxes or increasing borrowing which he said will fuel inflation.

(ST)

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  • 12 December 2012 09:15, by Logic

    Basically, the N. Sudanese economy is in disarray and its due to your fiscal policies and misplaced pride in resolving the issues with S. Sudan. Stop putting up hurdles you clearly cant overcome, change your condescending attitude towards the working class and recovery will be in sight. Furthermore, just dismantle the government you retarded hypocrites.

    repondre message

    • 12 December 2012 09:56, by Aaban

      You tell that you criminals you fail, they will murder you within a minutes, unless they are adivice by evil to kill, they do it without delaying, there is no economy in the country, the dying criminal want everyone to be in pain just like him, so bad that he sold his soul to evil already, blasphemous al Ja’alin Hashimite clan of murderers, the time will come for them to follow the power of evil,

      repondre message

    • 13 December 2012 03:55, by ANYANYA1

      Hi Logic,as you already knew that Arab peple are having different way of understsnding, excample, if you tell them to them sit down they will stand up, if you said yes, they said no, boy is gril for them,they always like that,don’t waste your time my friend,

      repondre message

  • 12 December 2012 12:07, by Nibs

    It make me laugh when i read the tussle between ministers and overall hardships n.sudanese are going through.prior to cessation,everything was fine.things will go worse in that country.it will be hilarious cartoon movie!

    repondre message

  • 12 December 2012 21:02, by Observer

    At last Jalaby and N Sudanese have seen sense and not come on here posting that the figures are lies, that once we get the S Sudan payment over 3 years all will be good.
    Even the government run labour union is now waking up both eyes and having the courage to critise.
    Our country is in decay
    Government- stop lying to us. We know what it is like.
    Remember this is how it started in Tunisia etc

    repondre message

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