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Sudan’s Hamdok defends economic reforms, pledges to address imbalances

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Sudan's Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok speaks on 8 February 2021 (ST)June 15, 2021 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok pledged on Tuesday to address the obstacles that prevented the implementation of measures necessary to reduce the severe effects of economic reforms.

In response to popular protests rejecting tough reforms and calling for his resignation, Hamdok spoke to the Sudanese people to defend the cancellation of commodities and fuel subsidies and the liberalization of the Sudanese pound.

He stressed that the government has put in place several measures to mitigate the negative impact of structural economic reforms including the family support programme to provide direct cash to millions of people.

"Here, we acknowledge that there is an administrative defect in the database that hampered this great work, and we are working to address it with all concerned parties," he admitted.

He added that only 15% of the international support for the cash transfer programme ($820 million) so far has been used.

The family support programme includes 6.5 million families, about 80% of Sudanese families. However, the government collected the data of only 700,000 families due to the weakness of the administrative apparatus.

Hamdok said that the international support provided for this programme will reach $2 billion in the future, and urged Sudanese to register to benefit from this programme.

"I urge all the daughters and sons of our people to register in this programme and receive direct financial support that contributes to alleviating the burdens of life on them."

He underscored that his government continues to subsidize many basic commodities and services, including electricity, flour, cooking gas and medicines.

Furthermore, he pointed to the delay in the establishment of cooperative societies that sell goods directly from the producer to the consumer and called on the neighbourhood and popular committees to revitalize these societies to deliver cheap goods to the people.

The Prime Minister, also, accused unnamed parties of contributing to the creation of the hardship of living in the country.

"It is not hidden that there are malicious hands that contribute to disrupting the wheel of production, government work and the functioning of the private sector, as well as inciting lawlessness," he said alluding to Islamist supporters of the ousted regime.

Many officials in Khartoum admit that the administrative apparatus is not qualified to implement economic and administrative reforms. In addition, they admit the continued presence of the supporters of the ousted regime in the administration due to the lack of clear directives from the prime minister.

Speaking about the protests that took place last Thursday and Friday, Hamdok said the fragmentation of the revolution’s components created a vacuum used by its enemies and supporters of the former regime.

The forces of the revolution "have no choice but to unite, restore their cohesion and organize their ranks. Only with their unity, they can protect the revolution, its values and goals."

(ST)

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