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Sudanese officials must obtain Bashir’s approval before travelling abroad

February 9, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese ministers are not allowed to travel abroad on official business without obtaining prior approval from president Omer Hassan al-Bashir.

The minister of state for finance Abdel-Rahman Dirar told the pro-government al-Rayaam newspaper that this measure was taken to preserve the country’s reserves of hard currency and reduce government expenditures.

Bashir will examine the necessity of the minister’s travel and make a determination accordingly, Dirar said.

"No constitutional [official] will travel without permission from the president of the republic and the president surely wont grant approval unless participation [in the event or conference] is essential" he said.

The official said evaluation of any travel would look at the possible economic and/or political trip from embarking on the trip.

Since South Sudan became an independent country last July, Sudan’s economic woes intensified as the country’s breakup made it lose access to 75% of oil reserves that existed prior to the secession.

Along with billions of dollars in revenues, oil exports provided a steady source of hard currency for the country.

Sudanese authorities have undertaken steps to contain the foreign currency shortage including limiting its sales and banning a wide range of imports.

Despite that, the Sudanese pound deteriorated to new lows this week against the U.S. dollar on the black market.

(ST)