Home | News    Thursday 8 May 2014

Sudan’s finance minister downbeat over country’s economic outlook

separation
increase
decrease
separation
separation

May 7, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s finance minister, Badr al-Din Mahmoud, has painted a bleak picture of the current economic situation, saying the country’s economy faced foreign, natural and political pressure which has created a budget hole and a $1.6 billion trade deficit coupled with a stagnation in non-oil exports except for gold.

JPEG - 26.5 kb
A Sudanese man counts notes after receiving the new Sudanese currency at a central bank branch in Khartoum on 24 July 2011 (Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

Mahmoud also acknowledged that US economic sanctions imposed on his country resulted in a near freeze in foreign aid and grants.

The finance minister said in a report submitted to the parliament on Wednesday that they used 4.1 billion pounds of which 2.1 billion were loans and 2 billion in the form of grants.

Minister of foreign trade Osman Omar al-Sharif disclosed in a separate report that the value of non-oil exports dropped last year from $3.11 billion to $3.07 billion.

Al-Sharif also noted a decrease in trade volume between Sudan and the COMESA countries from $283 million during January-September 2012 to $135 million for the same period in 2013.

Sudan’s exports to Arab nations went down from $1.897 billion to $1.282 billion while imports increased from $1.178 billion to $1.491 billion thus turning the surplus into a $209 million deficit.

Observers say that officials in Khartoum generally tend to present a rosy image of the economy that is not reflective of reality. The former finance minister, Ali Mahmood Abdel-Rasool, told a local newspaper in an interview last year that this is done to prevent scaring people and markets.

In recent weeks, the Sudanese pound reached record lows against the US dollar on the black market, which is seen as a vital indicator to gauge the state of the economy.

Sudan imports most of its food from abroad which uses up a large chunk of its foreign exchange reserves and leaves little left to fulfill local demand by individuals and businesses alike.

Inflation has long remained in the double-digits despite slightly lowering in recent months.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a report on Sudan last year that the 2013 inflation rate is expected to be 32.1% compared to 35.1% in 2012.

Last month, a survey of the market done by Sudan’s official news agency (SUNA) showed large increases in the price of basic commodities.

Since the secession of the oil-rich south in July 2011, the government in Khartoum has sought to ease fiscal pressures by introducing unpopular austerity measures which included lifting food and fuel subsidies.

But critics say that the economic policies implemented have failed to contain inflation or exchange rate except to hurt the vast majority of the population.

Sudan’s lukewarm relations with the west and even some rich oil Arab Gulf states, as well as its hefty debt burden, made it unable to receive significant loans to support its budget or foreign exchange reserves.

Last February, it was revealed that a number of Saudi and European banks had decided to stop dealing with Sudanese banks.

Sudanese officials attributed the move to pressure by the United States which has economic sanctions imposed on the East African nation since 1997.

A Western diplomat told Agence France Presse (AFP) at the time that the move by the European banks appears to reflect an increasingly cautious attitude by financial institutions which do not want to risk being found in violation of US sanctions.

For Saudi Arabia, strained political relations over Sudan’s links to Iran could be a factor in the banks’ decision, the Western diplomat said.

(ST)

Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

Comment on this article



The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.


Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis


National dialogue building nation 2017-05-22 21:10:41 By Amb. Dhano Obongo Initially, I congratulate and commend H.E the President of the Republic of South Sudan, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, for recognising the need for a national dialogue among 64 (...)

The raging just revolution in Darfur will continue burning until victory 2017-05-22 21:04:22 By Mahmoud A. Suleiman Author Mahmoud Yusuf says that we live in a historical stage full of serious events that will affect the future of mankind on this planet, including what is related to (...)

South Sudan: How culture of revenge inhibits development and progress 2017-05-13 08:09:39 By Steve Paterno Admittedly, revenge or the act of it is inherently human in nature. The human beings since biblical times could not dissuade from the proverbial practice of an 'eye for an eye.' (...)


MORE






Latest Press Releases


HRW denounces "collective punishment" in South Sudan’s Wau 2017-04-15 07:06:48 Human Right Watch South Sudan: New Spate of Ethnic Killings Urgent Need for Justice; UN Should Increase Patrols in Wau (Nairobi, April 14, 2017) – Government soldiers and allied militias (...)

Statement by South Sudanese Communist Party on the National Dialoguel 2017-03-22 05:44:42 The Communist Party of South Sudan On the Initiative of the National Dialogue The initiative taken by the President of the Republic of South Sudan declaring a need for a national dialogue is an (...)

An Appeal to President of the Republic of South Sudan 2017-03-15 07:22:45 Dear. Mr. President, I write to appeal to you for the release of political detainees now in the custody of the National Security Service at Jebel and other detention facilities. In doing this, I (...)


MORE

Copyright © 2003-2017 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.