Sudanese economy faces problem, but solvable via policies: official

Sudan’s Finance Minister Mohamed Osman Al-Rikabi on Tuesday said Sudan’s economy is facing a problem, but it can be solved via policies and procedures.

Al-Rikabi said at a press conference that one of the challenges facing Sudan is “the decline of the Sudanese pound,” and the “rising cost of funding strategic commodities” is also a prior concern.

The minister further defended the country’s 2018 budget, which was approved by the Sudanese Council of Ministers last December and then endorsed by the Sudanese parliament on Dec. 31.

He also noted difficulties of obtaining funds due to Sudan’s alleged sponsoring terrorism, and the deficit in the trade balance as another challenge.

He reiterated that his country did not benefit yet from the U.S. decision in last October lifting the economic sanctions on Sudan, noting that the positive effects of the decision need more time to show.

According to the 2018 budget, the official exchange rate of the U.S. dollar against the Sudanese pound at the Central Bank of Sudan has increased, with one dollar exchanging 18 Sudanese pounds from 6.9 Sudanese pounds at the end of last month.

However, the Sudanese official promised to revise the customs exchange rate to offset the negative effect that dollar price hike brings to necessary commodities and production import.

Sudan’s general budget for 2018 amounts to 116.9 billion Sudanese pounds, which tends to achieve a growth rate of 4 percent, reduce the average inflation rate from 34.1 to 19.5 percent and also reduce the money supply.

The budget deficit amounted to 28.4 billion Sudanese pounds, representing 2.4 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, while current expenditure amounted to 127.2 billion Sudanese pounds, or 68 percent of total expenditure.

The most prominent objective of the budget, the official added, is to achieve economic stability via increasing production at all sectors and reducing poverty through fair distribution of incomes and increasing employment opportunities.