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Sudanese president promises no quick fixes to economic woes


19 October 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir on Wednesday offered a more detailed assessment of the economic challenges facing the country in one of his most candid speeches on the topic to date.

Sudan’s President Omer Hassan al-Bashir (Reuters)

Addressing an economic forum at the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), Bashir underscored the negative impact created by the secession of the oil-rich south last July.

The Sudanese leader said that losing oil as a major source of revenue has led to a budget deficit and an unfavourable balance of trade, which he said put the government in the dilemma of needing to raise new revenues without having to raise taxes.

"How do we bridge the gap [...] without increasing taxes? We need to broaden the tax base to tax those outside the tax system," Bashir said. He also stressed that reducing government spending is needed, along with seeking more revenue sources in order to adjust with the new economic reality.

Sudan lost 75% of its oil reserves after the south became an independent state which fueled an unprecedented economic boom since the signing of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). But analysts say that Khartoum mismanaged the oil wealth by overspending on security organs and forfeited an opportunity to invest in agricultural and industrial sectors to diversify the economy.

In its World Economic Outlook published last month, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected a negative real GDP growth for Sudan; -0.2% in 2011 and -0.4% in 2012. This is down from the 6.5% growth achieved in 2010 and an average of 6.7% in the years 2003-2009.

Sudanese officials are hopeful that an agreement can be reached soon with the landlocked south on how much the new state should be charged for using the oil pipelines to export its crude through Port Sudan. Khartoum has reportedly asked South Sudan for $32 per barrel which was swiftly rejected by Juba and described as "daylight robbery." The two countries are set to soon resume negotiations on the issue under the auspices of an African Union (AU) panel headed by former South African president, Thabo Mbeki.

Bashir called for boosting export levels and local production to ease growing pressure on the already low levels of foreign currency reserves. Earlier this year the government has placed restrictions on imports and curtailed the amount of hard currency Sudanese citizens can buy.

Sudan’s non-oil exports in the January-September period came to $1.58 billion compared with $1.21 billion for the January-August period in 2010, the central bank said on Wednesday. It did not give figures for January-September 2010. Exports of gold, the key earner on the export list, reached $977.41 million in January-September this year, up 33 percent compared with January-August 2010, it said. The central bank did not say how much Khartoum made from oil exports. Last year the whole of Sudan made around $10 billion from oil, which was shared equally between north and south.

In recent months the black market for foreign currency has flourished, pushing the Sudanese pound to deteriorate to record levels. The Sudanese president disclosed that a meeting is held every week by ministers dealing with the economy to monitor the situation. However, he noted that the entire world is going through economic turmoil, which he said is a result of capitalism.

"Our recommendations are not for lifting the Sudanese economy from the immediate crisis, but to research and find treatments for the suffering of the world now after the failure of the system of capitalism, and finding an exit by returning to God for a way out of the severe economic crisis, and move away from [charging] interest because it is [like] fighting against God,” Bashir said.

The Sudanese president also criticized states for the way they handle investments and implored on them to show a more serious attitude towards attracting investors and to remove any hurdles in that regard.

Bashir also expressed surprise at the large numbers of foreign workers inside Sudan. "We have unemployment and there are no jobs, and at the same time we have a large number of foreign laborers," he said. "This creates social and economic problems, and these are the problems we want to solve.”

The IMF estimated unemployment rate in Sudan at 13.4% in 2011 but projected this figure to decline to 12.2% in 2012. Many observers and pro-government figures have warned that the worsening living situation for many Sudanese, in the form of rising food prices and other necessities, could push the country closer to a popular uprising similar to other countries in North Africa. Sudanese officials routinely dismiss this possibility.


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  • 20 October 2011 08:43, by neran

    Bashir sorry i think what you say bout taxes will not happen
    the only way for you you can rezain on your leader shipe

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    • 20 October 2011 09:18, by Col Kowager

      While not discounting an uprising although in the non islamic brotherhood world it would be immensely welcomed. None of Bashir’s money was ever his, it has always belonged to Africans eg; no oil, gold, agric. Proper history read shows clear in 9AD islamic funded mentalists invaded Africa. If they wnt to make money - HONESTLY - then go home. Cozying up with ottoman Turkey, Iran, Egypt nope!

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      • 20 October 2011 10:16, by agwait majok

        Bashier with their party they are on good situation at this time, but they don’t care, because they learn to live like that. they don’t care about population or citizen of country.

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      • 20 October 2011 12:53, by mohammed ali

        The Nylotic tribes are a branch of the Massai tribe. They migrated to the south in the 16th-17th century.They have many things in common.Both of them worship cows and have the same tall physical features as well as linguistic simillarties.Few of the nylotic embraced christianity in the begining of 19th century, Nubians were christians centuries ago!Nubians still speak their centries old language!

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        • 20 October 2011 14:24, by Logic

          " both of them worship cows" lol, where did they get you from?

          The "Nilotic tribes are a branch of the Massai tribe" this is even more funny, as in actual fact the latter is only related to the Lou tribe which has its origins in South Sudan. Just say you hate African Sudanese, but making up history wont help your attempted supremacy.

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    • 20 October 2011 12:41, by mohammed ali

      Most of north and central Sudan is inhabitated by Nubians since the begining oh history, this is why it is called Nubia Land in all old books of history. Even the name of most towns in Sudan is Nubian. Nubian were Christians since the first or second century, they adopted Islam en masse by the 13th- 14th century. We will continue living in our land.

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    • 20 October 2011 13:23, by Force 1

      Khartoum inner circle wishes now that if they rolled the time back to early 2005 they would start with way different strategy!!! Very few people need no clarification with this statement!

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    • 21 October 2011 13:12, by okucu pa lotinokwan

      Omer do not be very wise president,your personnel acount in Malayia is what should to be in the government account,go and bring it back,stop making noise.


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  • 20 October 2011 11:38, by Master

    I would love for the IMF to show our southern brothers the expected figures for ROSS - so they can shut their mouths about the north.
    ’In its World Economic Outlook published last month, the IMF projected a negative real GDP growth for Sudan; -0.2% in 2011 and -0.4% in 2012’
    If you take into account the secession of South Sudan it doesnt take a big IQ to realise the figure will drop.

    E.g 4-1=3.

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    • 20 October 2011 11:42, by Master

      ’The IMF estimated unemployment rate in Sudan at 13.4% in 2011 but projected this figure to decline to 12.2% in 2012.’

      Simple economics 101 - How can you have negative growth in an economy & yet expect unemplyment to drop??? Again the above figures are only because of South Sudan secession & not show actual GDP growth.

      Can someone please get me figure for South Sudan. Oh yeh it isnt part of IMF

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      • 21 October 2011 03:50, by Deng Ateny Lueth

        Mr. Ali to be honest with you, Northerners were happy for Separation of South Sudan. They didn’t see later economic diring consequences or eventualities. very regretful indeed, isn’t. sudan is now suffering of secession aftermath. being a landlock is no hinderance to South economic growth. don’t be much hopful, the fees we will offer is still going to be $0.41 cent. no reverse gear on this matt

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    • 20 October 2011 14:08, by Logic

      Here we go, the racist bigots are back in effect.

      Most of north and central Sudan is inhabited by Nubians, really? Where do you get your facts from. Have you forgotten about the great kingdom of Funj, where most Nubian tribes were living in the peripherals up north. The Nuba moved southwards after the decline of Nuba kingdom. In technical terms, the Nuba can also be defined as "Nilotic tribes"

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    • 21 October 2011 00:18, by DeltaBravo

      I think GDP does not define the suffering people of the World,but it define the Country Stock market only. So please don’t rely on GDP growth.

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  • 20 October 2011 13:00, by mohammed ali

    Stay happy! We have economical problems , that is true! You can celebrate that, enjoy it. Unfortunately we will overcome them!But we are still ok, we can still feed over a million first class citizents from the Republic of South Sudan and we are wellcoming more to come!

    It is far better for you to think about your economy, if you have any ! At least people will not die of hunger!

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    • 20 October 2011 14:14, by Logic

      Logically speaking, the South is bound to face major economical challenges and nobody is in denial of that, except the un-educated. The elite in Khartoum have been siphoning the resources of African Sudanese for decades and they weren’t even prudent for the benefit of their people (so called Arabs).

      Before boasting of feeding southerners, feed your ever increasing hungry first, you guys are funny

      repondre message

    • 20 October 2011 14:32, by Logic

      Human dignity is what makes one a first class citizen in his own country and since co-existing with your likes as equals proved difficult, it took an international border to afford the African Sudanese the dignity they deserved, don’t be mad son!

      Do you actually think you’re intelligent? lol

      Just concentrate on resolving the issues created by the elites of the Republican palace.

      repondre message

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