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Sudanese minister criticizes central bank

June 21, 2013, (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese investment minister Mustafa Osman Ismail, has criticized the policies of the central bank regarding implementation of the tripartite economic program and the lack of a mechanism for evaluation, review, and follow-up.

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Sudan’s investment minister, Mustafa Osman Ismail, speaks at a news conference in Doha on 8 April 2013 (Photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Ismail, who was addressing a session on finance, investment, and tax benefits at the first business performance conference, said that the tripartite program should end next year, calling upon the central bank and the finance ministry to get the media acquainted with the steps which have been undertaken so far.

The tripartite program was meant to help Sudan cope with the impact of losing most of the country’s oil after South Sudan secession in July 2011.

The Sudanese official also chided the finance ministry for the delays in granting tax breaks for investors.

Last month, Ismail criticized Sudan’s current constitution saying that it does not help advance investments in the country and creates problems between the National Investment Council and the state governments which derive their authority from local laws.

“State taxes imposed on cement factories in Nahr al-Neel state have led to a 50% reduction in cement production” the minister cited as an example.

But Ismail also acknowledged that lack of coordination between the federal government and the states is the main cause behind the stumbling of domestic investments.

He further said that the central bank’s policies prevent foreign investors from using funding of local banks and underscored the need to invest states’ deposits into local banks.

The minister also called for granting investors pieces of land which are free from disputes.

Last April, hundreds of Om Doum residents in Khartoum staged demonstrations, blockading the main street and setting tires on fire to express fury against what they say are government plans to give away part of their lands to a Saudi investor.

(ST)