World Bulletin / News Desk
The Sudanese government on Thursday lifted state subsidies on fuel products and medicine.
At a press conference held Thursday evening, Finance Minister Badr Eldin Mahmoud also announced an increase in consumer prices for electricity.
The minister also announced a new package of financial measures, including the partial devaluation of the local currency.
Mahmoud went on to announce, however, that the new measures would be accompanied by a 20-percent increase in public-sector salaries.
The minister attributed the new raft of measures to a host of "challenges" facing the economy, adding that the new strategy was aimed at addressing high rates of inflation, low national production and a severe lack of hard currency.
He went on to note that longstanding U.S. economic sanctions on Sudan had negatively impacted the country’s economy, along with falling oil revenue that followed South Sudan’s secession in 2011.
''The region around us is boiling; we must adopt these measures to save our country,'' he said.
''We know it will be hard on our people, but we have no other way to avoid other serious consequences,'' Mahmoud asserted, voicing hope that the policy changes would lead to a measure of economic stability.
The minister confirmed that Sudan’s council of ministers had approved the new raft of measures at a meeting chaired earlier Thursday by President Omar al-Bashir.
''These measures will improve the people’s living standards through real increases in salaries, allowances and improvements in the conditions of sectors covered by social assistance, which will also be restructured," Mahmoud said.
He went on to predict that the coming fiscal year would witness a drop in the inflation rate, which, he vowed, "will not exceed 15 percent on average, while the balance-of-payment deficit can be expected to fall from 4.2 billion Sudanese pounds [roughly $660 million] to 3.7 billion pounds [roughly $580 million]".
In September of 2013, Khartoum’s decision to partially lift fuel subsidies sparked days of violent protests across the country.Last Mod: 04 Kasım 2016, 14:34