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Sudan’s former finance minister discloses reasons of his disguised dismissal


July 19, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - Ibrahim al-Badawi Sudan’s former Finance Minister disclosed he had a dispute with Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok over the implementation of the Staff-Monitored Program (SMP), he negotiated with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Sudanese Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Badawi speaks to AFP during an interview in Washington, DC, on October 22, 2019. (AFP)Al-Badawi lost his ministerial portfolio on 9 July when Hamdok asked all his ministers to resign. Then, he accepted the resignation of six ministers and also dismissed the health minister who had refused to resign.

His departure was unexpected and many Sudanese wondered why he quitted the government while he had launched the most important economic reform in Sudan since the independence with the support of the international financial institutions.

In a five-page statement addressed to the Sudanese to explain the conditions of his disguised dismissal, al-Badawi said undertaking such reform requires "a full delegation of powers" by the executive authority.

He further added he raised the issue of power delegation with the Prime Minister on July 2, "because it became urgent after agreeing with the IMF on the SMP."

The former minister said he asked the prime minister to determine the economic files he wants to keep under his direct control and those followed by his economic advisers to avoid "conflicts of authority".

"Also, I tried to persuade him that, as finance minister, I should be given sufficient coordination powers to lead the implementation of the agreed IMF monitoring program over the next six months," he stressed.

Several ministers complain that the implementation of policies endorsed by the Council of Ministers is disputed by Hamdok’s cabinet and special advisers.

Further, the "higher" committees in several fields including economy chaired by a member of the Sovereign Council that Hamdok used to establish, are perceived by several ministers as obstruction of their action.

Al-Badawi pointed out that his requests came in light of the differences between him and Hamdok in some important issues as he noticed that "the specialized technical opinion was not respected".

He stressed that it is important to make things clear to avoid a major difference in the future since the coming period will witness difficult decisions to enforce profound economic transformations.

The left parties in the ruling FFC coalition voiced their opposition to the IMF-backed critical reforms that al-Badawi intends to implement to address major macro imbalances and create the conditions for sustained growth in Sudan.

Al-Badawi also planned to stop subsidies for basic commodities and protect poor families via a social safety net and the salaries increase for some social segments.

In his statement, the sacked minister also pointed to the difficulties caused by the presence of the huge military-economic business, which includes factories manufacturing vehicles and mining industry, without any control from the finance ministry.

Al-Badawi underscored that the continued absence of control over these tax-exempted military businesses resulted in the ministry’s inability to manage their liquidity and employ it according to the priorities and needs of the Sudanese economy.

The minister suggested without saying it that Hamdok was not enthusiastic to the control of the military-economic activities that much of Sudanese support.

On 11 July, Sadiq al-Mahdi the National Umma Party leader expressed fears that al-Badawi’s dismissal would lead to pulling back from economic reforms initiated with international financial institutions. Also, he alluded to the control of the military activities.

Also, he alluded to the control of the military-economic activities saying "If it is confirmed that the finance ministry will control the finance, and if the approach adopted is respecting the rules of economics and harmonious dialogue with international economic and financial institutions, (...) then I (...) would ask you to review your position".

However, al-Badawi expressed hope that his "testimony" would be seen as "one of the lessons learned" during the transitional period, indicating that he has no intention to return to his position.

Al-Badawi’s departure created an additional rift between Hamdok and the NUP which announced its intention to join the upcoming government together with the Sudanese Congress Party.

Sources close to the file say that NUP now demands to be given the finance ministry to ensure that IMF-supported reforms will be fully implemented.


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