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عربي

Sudanese struggle to keep up with rising prices

Mohamed Hilali
Rising prices of bread and other basics are piling the pressure onto Sudanese families.
20.11.2013  |  Khartoum
ثلاثة قطع من رغيف العيش هي الآن بجنيه واحد. نفس المبلغ كان يكفي  لشراء خمسة رغيفات قبل عامين فقط.
ثلاثة قطع من رغيف العيش هي الآن بجنيه واحد. نفس المبلغ كان يكفي لشراء خمسة رغيفات قبل عامين فقط.

Two years ago one Sudanese Pound (0.17 USD) bought five loaves of bread. Today it pays for just three.
 
Similar price inflation has hit many basics goods, including tomatoes, an essential ingredients in traditional Sudanese cooking, leaving families struggling to cover their shopping bills.

At least two members of the family should be working in order to cover essential needs.”
Fathiya Mohamed
Housewife Fathiya Mohamed said she is unable to provide her family on her own. At least two members of the family should be working in order to cover essential needs including tuition fees in addition to electricity and water bills,” she explained.

Unessential products such as tobacco have also been affected by the increase of prices whereby a pack of cigarettes costs five Sudanese Pound (SDG) while it used to be purchased by two SDG.

Thus, price increases have affected both essential and dispensable products including milk, sugar, medicine, treatment, cars and construction materials.

The latest uprising against the regime in Sudan was a reaction to the ongoing economic crisis of the country as students were unable to go to their schools following the fuel subsidy cuts announced by the government, which increased the price of bus tickets.

The current average salaries clearly demonstrate the imbalanced economic equation since any salary increase imposed by the government would not compensate the growing prices of the market,” said journalist Abdullah Sheikh.

Researcher and Professor of Economy and Development, Ahmad Abdulsalam.
©The Niles | Mohamed Hilaly
Ahmad Abdulsalam, Economic and Development Researcher blames the crisis on South Sudan’s secession, which cut off Sudan’s access to the southern oil reserves. This cost the country millions of dollars and affected the exchange rate price which has resulted in collapsing the national currency against the dollar increasing thus the inflation rate,” he said.

The economic problem is structural. It is related to the structure of the budget of an unproductive consuming society,” he added.

Abdulsalam believes the government should resort to agriculture to elevate the economic situation. The government should intervene by resorting to agriculture.”

The fierce capitalist market system has always provided the daily and essential needs of the people, but the point is in the purchasing ability,” said Leftist intellectual Abo Bakr Amin. He added, purchasing power has decreased and the poor class remained unable to afford their daily needs”.

Such factors contributed to the failure of the government to achieve its extrovert economic objectives” whereas the actual reality is that the ruling social powers have become richer on the expense of the people. Thus, the regime has successfully impoverished the people while accumulating the wealth in the hands of few segments,” he concluded.

The ruling social powers have become richer on the expense of the people.”
Abo Bakr Amin
Despite the suffering experienced by the Sudanese people, the government is still talking about the gradual reformation of the economy. Sudan News reported on October 5, that the presidency asked the Ministry of Finance, the National Economic and The Central Bank of Sudan to develop a comprehensive study on the gradual reformation of the economy to achieve balance and stability.

In addition, Sudan News also reported that Vice President Adam Youssef met with the Economic Procedures Committee -- in charge of following up political, financial and production fields in addition to export, import and monitoring -- to discuss the implementation of the Social Initiative, which provides support for the underprivileged including women, students, orphans, widows, disabled and martyrs’ families.

However, some believe that the crisis is political rather than economic and is related to the ideology of the regime, which should be toppled to improve the economic conditions.

The economic crisis is a result of a suffocating political one, which has been holding the country captive for half a century.”
Noor Hamad
Changing and replacing the current economic and political system is the solution,” said Sudanese intellectual Noor Hamad. In his article titled ‘Current Necessity of Removing Bashir’s Regime’ published on ‘Sudan for All’ website on October 1, Hamad said, the crisis of Sudan is not an economic one, it is a political crisis”.

The economic crisis is a result of a suffocating political one, which has been holding the country captive for half a century. This political crisis was the result of a deviant Islamist ideology, which by nature develops priorities related to implementation of Islam rather than empowering the state,” Hamad explained.