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Sudan’s PCP calls on gov’t to suspend fuel prices’ increase

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November 6, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) of the late Islamist leader Hassan al-Turabi has asked the government to suspend its decision to raise fuel and electricity price proposing to leave the issue for the transitional government.

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A worker fills a pickup truck’s tank with blended fuel at the first blended fuel station at Kenana Sugar Company (KSC)’s main plant, 270 km (170 miles) south of Khartoum May 14, 2013. (REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

On Thursday, Sudanese government lifted fuel subsidies and increased electricity price in a bid to stop the surge in inflation and control the fall of Sudanese pound in the black market. The decision comes two months ahead of the formation of the government of national concord endorsed by the National Dialogue Conference.

In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Sunday, PCP’s economic sector demanded the government to suspend its decision, saying the matter shall be referred to an economic committee to develop an emergency plan to address the macroeconomic problem before the adoption of the new budget and in accordance with the outcome of the dialogue.

The PCP proposed that the economic committee should present its plan to the dialogue’s outcome implementation follow up committee in order to approve it as the economic program of the next government of the national concord.

The statement further renewed PCP’s commitment to the national dialogue as the only way to achieve political reform, warning against the opposition call for the civil disobedience.

“The civil disobedience will adversely impact on Sudan’s stability at this time,” reads the statement.

Meanwhile, PCP economic secretary Bashir Adam Rahma said the government should have consulted with the political parties participating in the dialogue before taking the decision to raise fuel and electricity price.

At a press conference on Sunday, Rahma said the implementation of the austerity measures without consulting with the dialogue’s parties would undermine confidence in the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) commitment to implement the recommendations of the dialogue.

The PCP was part of the National Consensus (NCF) coalition which had being gathering the left parties and National Umma Party.

However, the Sudanese Islamist party, which split from the National Congress Party (NCP) in 1999, is now backing the regime, saying the defence of the Islamic state in Sudan should prevail over their political differences.

Turabi’s party is now the main opposition political pillar of the national dialogue process, after refusing to follow other opposition parties that had joint the political process but distanced themselves after the NCP refusal to create a conducive environment.

Last month, the political forces participating at the government-led national dialogue concluded the process by signing the national document which includes the general features of a future constitution to be finalized by transitional institutions.

The opposition groups boycotted the process because the government didn’t agree on humanitarian truce with the armed groups and due to its refusal to implement a number of confidence building measures.

The recommendations of the conference provide to open the door for the holdout opposition groups to sign the framework text and to join the transitional government and parliament that would work to implement the reforms agreed in the National Document.

The PCP official pointed that the government’s decision to lift the subsidy lacks transparency and credibility, saying it didn’t explain the size of neither the deficit nor the amount of government subsidy for electricity and medicine.

Rahma further described the government’s decision as nothing but a lie, saying it was mean to cover the budget deficit through increasing the burden on the citizens.

FFC REJECTS LIFT OF FUEL AND ELECTRICITY SUBSIDIES

For its part, the opposition alliance of the Future Forces of Change (FFC) has rejected the government decision to scrap fuel and electricity subsidies saying it was not based upon any moral or technical or legitimacy.

In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Sunday, FFC said it would adopt all constitutional and peaceful means to resist the decision and show support for the Sudanese people.

The statement said the government used the dialogue as a bridge to gain legitimacy to implement the austerity measures, saying both the legislative councils and the national parliament didn’t approve the decision.

It pointed out the need to stop the war, fight against corruption, encourage foreign investment and promote external relations in order to resolve the economic crisis.

The FFC further said it would coordinate with all political and social forces in the capital Khartoum and the various states to force the government to reverse the decision.

(ST)

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