Sudan is to implement a package of economic reforms aimed at ending hydrocarbon subsidies, adjusting the exchange rate, trimming and rationalizing government spending and expanding social and health insurance to vulnerable segments of society, Finance Minister ‘Ali Mahmud announced this week. In particular the package will need to tackle the budget and balance of payments deficits, as well as to provide social support.

With regard to subsidies the Central Bank of Sudan (CBS) governor Muhammad Khair al-Zubair said a decision to withdraw fuel subsidies was imminent, but said that an increase in the price of household staples like flour may be postponed until further notice. He also predicted that the current economic situation would not improve for at least three years, but at the same time called for the increase in oil production (currently around 100,000 b/d). The current crisis was the result of losing South Sudan’s oil he said, adding that there is a huge discrepancy between exports of $4bn and imports of $8bn (including $1.4bn of gasoline), which was not the case before the secession of South Sudan. (CONTINUED - 307 WORDS)