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Sun, 17 Nov 2019 12:02 GMT

Sudan needs up to $5 Billion in Support to Deliver Reforms According to Finance Minister

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7Dnews London

Fri, 08 Nov 2019 15:37 GMT

Sudan needs up to $5 billion in budget support to avoid economic collapse, and launch reform plans, after the ousting of long time president Omar al-Bashir, Sudan's Finance Minister, Ibrahim Elbadawi, told Reuters on Friday November 8th.

Asked how much budget support was needed for 2020, Elbadawi said in an interview on Thursday November 6th, “some estimates say between three to four billion (US dollars), maybe even five billion.”

The government has drawn more than half of the $3 billion in support for imports of wheat and fuel offered by Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates in April.

Sudan has had some support for fuel and wheat imports but about 65% of its 44 million people live in poverty and it needs up to $2 billion in development funding along with a hoped-for $2 billion from Arab development funds, he said.

He said that a “friends of Sudan” donor meeting is planned for December, and the government had agreed with the U S it could start engaging with international institutions, while still on their list of countries deemed to be sponsors of terrorism.

The designation, which dates from allegations in 1993, that Bashir’s government supported terrorism, makes it technically ineligible for debt relief and financing from the IMF and World Bank.

Yet he confirmed that experts from international institutions had arrived in Khartoum to help with reforms, and a delegation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would come this month for discussions.

Part of a roadmap agreed with the IMF and World Bank, was that Sudan did not have to pay back $3 billion in arrears from international institutions. “We don’t need to pay anything. What we need to ... deliver really is policy,” he said.

Meanwhile, he affirmed that the 2020 budget would have sustainable development targets for education, health care and social spending.

He revealed reform plans in detail for the first time, saying public salaries would need to be increased, and a social support network established to prepare for the painful removal of fuel and food subsidies.

Salaries, eroded by double digit inflation rates, could be raised as much as 100% by April, he said, adding that Sudan would start to increase its tax base and overhaul the civil sector.

“We have started the process (of reforms),” he said, adding, “the people of Sudan deserve to be seen in a radically different prospective than the international community used to see Sudan, as a pariah state.”

Months of demonstrations over price hikes for fuel, bread and cash shortages triggered the uprising against Bashir, who was ousted in April by the military. Protests have continued since, with people killed in clashes with security forces.


Middle East