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Minister urges Al-Baraka bank to expand its activities in Sudan

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July 26, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese minister of finance, Badr al-Din Mahmoud Abas, has called on the Bahraini Al-Baraka Islamic Bank to extend its activities in the country, as well as provide import facilities.

Abas met on Tuesday with Al-Baraka’s chief executive officer and member of the board of directors, Mohamed Essa al-Mutawa’a.

The government-sponsored Sudan Media Center (SMC) quoted Abas as pointing to evolving and growing ties with the Al-Baraka bank in various fields to serve the common interests.

Al-Mutawa’a for his part said Al-Baraka has strong and historic relations with the Sudanese central bank and other commercial banks in areas of trade and imports of basic commodities such as wheat, sugar, fuel, medical equipments, and spare parts, pointing to presence of Al-Baraka bank companies and branches all over Sudan.

He added the Turkish Al-Baraka bank which is part of Al-Baraka group is active in issuing Murabaha (Sharia compliant finance method) and trade in coordination with international banks in order to take advantage of the excess liquidity available in financial institutions worldwide.

Al-Mutawa’a said the Turkish Al-Baraka bank’s issued financial instruments ranging from $300 and $500 million, pointing the bank has 550 branches worldwide.

He added the Bahraini Al-Baraka bank opens documentary credits for the Sudanese pilgrims besides issuing financial instruments which benefit public and private companies and being used in inter-regional trade.

International financial institutions became increasingly cautious in dealing with Sudan as they do not want to risk being found in violation of United States sanctions.

Last month, France’s largest bank, BNP Paribas, agreed to pay nearly $9 billion to resolve criminal allegations that it processed transactions for clients in Sudan and other blacklisted countries in violation of the US trade sanctions.

Last March, a number of Saudi and European banks took a decision to stop dealing with Sudanese banks and attributed it to pressure made by the United States.

Qatari banks which used to cooperate with Sudan started to face difficulties in opening documentary credits for its Sudanese counterparts since last month.

Commercial banks in Sudan have been keeping large numbers of documentary credits for several months, as they could not find a correspondent bank to accept them.

Last June, Abas urged the foreign ministry to put efforts to lift economic sanctions imposed on Sudan due to its significant impact on the Sudanese economy.

He acknowledged to the parliament the government is finding it increasingly difficult to control the price hikes and the sharp declines in value of the Sudanese pound against the US dollar and other major currencies.

Washington imposed economic and trade sanctions on Sudan in 1997 in response to its alleged connection to terror networks and human rights abuses. In 2007 it strengthened the embargo, citing abuses in Darfur which it labelled as genocide.

(ST)

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