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Sudan begins cash transfers to support vulnerable families

July 1, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese government announced on Wednesday the experimental launch of cash transfers programme to protect vulnerable families in the country ahead of economic reforms.

Sudanese Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Badawi speaks to AFP during an interview in Washington, DC, on October 22, 2019. (AFP)In a joint statement, the ministry of finance, and the ministry of labour and social development said they transferred in the first payment (3000 Sudanese pounds) to support poor families in five suburbs, in Khartoum state.

This pilot project is funded by the transitional government and international donors with technical support from the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Bank.

The pilot phase includes poor families in five areas of Khartoum state: Western Soba, Al-Baqaa of Umbadda locality, Alnasr of Jebal Awlia, Wadi Soba and Um Doban, in the eastern Nile.

The statement added that the government plans to generalise the social protection programme to the whole country within six months after the beginning of the experimental phase to reach 32 million people, 80% of the country’s population.

Ibrahim al-Badawi, Sudan’s Finance Minister in a separate statement said that the USAID has provided $20 million in support of the programme.

"I was pleased to meet Mr Brian Shukan, U.S. ChargĂ© d’Affaires and Ms Helen Pataki, USAID Mission Director for Sudan. I thanked them for the $20 million in support to the Family Support Program," al-Badawi said in a tweet on Wednesday.

He further said that this money is part of $356 million in U.S. support to Sudan.

Earlier this year, al-Badawi, said that his government plans to remove fuel subsidies but before would a safety net programme to protect vulnerable families, as over 65% of the population live below the poverty line.

The minister repeated on several occasions that this support will go directly to the poor families while the subsidies mainly benefit the rich and middle class in the country.

However, cancellation of subsidies faces strong opposition from Forces for Freedom and Change saying the measure would impact the several sectors and would be a further stimulus to the already rampant inflation.

(ST)