Sudan to double salaries in move to market economy

Tuesday December 24 2019

Sudanese on December 19, 2019 celebrate the one-year anniversary of their protest movement that brought down Omar al-Bashir.

Sudanese on December 19, 2019 celebrate the one-year anniversary of their protest movement that brought down Omar al-Bashir. Sudan proposes to gradually lift subsidies of fuel in exchange for a 100 per cent increase in basic salaries. PHOTO | ASHRAF SHAZLY | AFP 

MAWAHIB ABDALLATIF
By MAWAHIB ABDALLATIF
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Khartoum,

Sudan has formed a committee to look into the options of removing subsidies on basic commodities without provoking the price increases that started a successful uprising against Omar al Bashir.

Sudan government spokesman Faisal Muhammad Saleh said the headline of the proposals was to gradually lift subsidies of fuel in exchange for a 100 per cent increase in basic salaries starting with the 2020 budget.

Petrol costs about 10 US cents per litre in Sudan, one of the lowest gasoline prices in the world, and costs 16 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

He said the decision was reached during an extraordinary meeting on the budget chaired by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on Sunday, December 22.

He said bread subsidies, which prompted the protests in December 2018, would remain for now as well as more spending on education and health.

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“More than one alternative will be offered through these dialogues so that citizens see the most acceptable option,” he said. The dialogues were to start on Monday.

The draft budget proposes a reduction by two thirds in government subsidies for goods and fuel, doubling of salaries of workers and measures to reduce unemployment which is now at 40 per cent. The programme aims to address the contraction in Gross Domestic Product by at least two per cent in the past two years and alleviate absolute poverty which is estimated at 65 per cent.

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