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Sudan does not expect immediate improvement in its economy: minister

October 20, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s Minister of Finance said they do not expect a quick improvement of the economic situation in the country after its removal from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Economy minister Heba Mohamed Ali talks to the press on 10 September 2020 (SUNA photo)On Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump announced his readiness to remove Sudan from the terror list as soon as compensations of the victims are transferred to an escrow account before the end of the month.

"There will be no fundamental change in the Sudanese economy tomorrow, once the country is removed from the list," said Heba Mohamed Ali in a joint press conference with the foreign minister and the governor of the Central Bank.

She pointed out that the immediate benefits for the country can is the moral aspect and the possibility for banking and cash transfers, but for the remaining issues Sudan still has to exert more efforts.

"Sudan needs to adjust the exchange rate so that the expatriates are not harmed and to when they use the official channels," noting that there are 5 exchange rates in the country.

However, the Sudanese pound strengthened on the black market after a tweet by Trump about the removal from the terror list.

Heba said that the country’s delisting enables it to benefit from grants by international institutions to finance development projects without the objection of the United States.

She added that the country meets the needed conditions to benefit from debt relief. Once Sudan finalizes the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) process, it would get $ 1.7 billion annually, as it is one of the poorest countries, she stressed.

She further pointed out that the lifting allows her country to cooperate directly with various institutions to purchase basic commodities after it was buying it at a high price through intermediaries.

Sudan says that it has to spend $128 million per month to buy petroleum products, $48 million per month to buy wheat and $30 million monthly to buy medicines, but due to the lack of foreign currency, it often fails to fulfil these obligations.

Heba said that about 40% of the government-subsidized oil and wheat supplies are smuggled out of the country.

The minister disclosed that Sudan’s removal from the blacklist could enable the country to receive one million tons of wheat from the USAID annually, adding that they are currently working on this file.

For his part, the Governor of the Central Bank of Sudan Al-Fateh Zain al-Abidine pledged to take measures to ensure the stability of the exchange rate.

He said that there are undertaking some arrangements to strengthen the value of the national currency.

The official said that the delisting would speed up the procedures for joining the World Trade Organization, and improve Sudan’s risk rating, as it is now classified as a country with high risks for investors.

(ST)