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Fuel price hike sparks new popular protests in Khartoum


June 10, 2021 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese protesters on Wednesday demonstrated in parts of the capital, Khartoum after the government lifted subsidies on fuel in the country.

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Protests in Sudan (FILE - REUTERS PICTURES)

On Tuesday, the Minister of Finance, Gibril Ibrahim instructed fuel stations to increase the price of a gallon of benzene from 675 Sudanese pounds to 1,305 pounds.

The price of a gallon of diesel was also increased from 563 pounds to 1,282 pounds.

The protesters blocked main and secondary streets in Khartoum, Khartoum North, and Omdurman with heavy stones, and set car tires on fire.

Eyewitnesses told the Sudan Tribune on Thursday that thousands of people staged mass protests in separate areas to denounce the complete liberation of fuel.

They pointed out that some of the demonstrators chanted slogans against the government and called to topple it down through peaceful means.

The finance minister in his statement said the fuel prices will be determined by the cost of importing and transporting gas and diesel, along with taxes and profit margins.

"The new fuel prices are in line with import costs," the ministry said in a statement.

This implies that under the new pricing system, fuel will increase from about 35 cents to nearly 70 cents per liter, while the price of diesel will more than double.

Ahmed al-Tayeb, a Sudanese economic analyst, criticized the government’s decision.

"It is obvious that the government does not have any other solutions to increase the revenues other than seizing the people’s pockets," Al-Tayeb told Xinhua Thursday.

"The decision to increase fuel prices will not help tackle the economic distortions as the government has claimed, but will create a deteriorating economic reality," he added.

The economy of Sudan has been starved of hard currency since South Sudan seceded in 2011, taking the majority share of oil resources, once a major export.

In December 2018, worsening economic conditions sparking popular protests across Sudan, leading to the ouster of former President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019.


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