Sudan PM announces 'strict austerity' in emergency economic reform plan

Reuters , Wednesday 24 Oct 2018

File Photo: Customers wait to get money inside the Bank of Khartoum, in Khartoum, Sudan September 11,2017 (Photo: Reuters)

Sudan's Prime Minister Moataz Moussa announced to parliament on Wednesday a 15-month emergency economic reform plan, including "further strict austerity measures", to begin this month.

Sudan's economy has been struggling since the south seceded in 2011, taking with it three-quarters of oil output and depriving Khartoum of a crucial source of foreign currency.

The plan aims to "reduce the average inflation, stabilize the exchange rate of the pound, achieve a GDP growth of 4 percent and to fix the liquidity crises," Moussa said.

Moussa also mentioned plans to establish a commodity exchange for gold and currencies.

In September, 11 months after the United States lifted 20-year-old trade sanctions, Bashir dissolved his government, citing Sudan's "state of distress and frustration", and slashed a third of ministries to cut costs.

At over 60 percent, Sudan's inflation rate is among the world's highest, while its currency buys fewer than half as many dollars on the black market -- which has effectively replaced the formal banking system -- as it did a year ago.

The economy has been starved of hard currency since South Sudan seceded in 2011, taking the lion's share of oil, once a major export. Though gold mining has since boomed, officials acknowledge that most of the precious metal is smuggled out of the country.

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