The Realities of Sudan’s Economy Make Nonsense of IMF Assessments
Eric Reeves | October 25, 2018 | https://wp.me/p45rOG-2j5
The international view of Sudan’s economy has for far too long been guided by the absurdly inadequate assessments of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The most egregious example is that of Edward Gemayel, IMF’s Mission Chief for Sudan. An IMF press release of October 12, 2013–two years after the secession of South Sudan–reports that, “Edward Gemayel, IMF Mission Chief for Sudan, noted that ‘Sudan has a long track record of implementing sustainable economic policies.’” Realities are quite otherwise.
Contrary to assessments by the IMF, Sudan’s economy is collapsing and the poorest Sudanese are those who suffer the most: from a lack of food, medical care, clean water, and educational opportunities. Responsibility lies clearly and unambiguously with the grossly self-enriching and destructive economic policies of the National Islamic Front, National Congress Party regime over the past 30 years. Corruption is endemic and deeply corrosive. Lack of planning and efficient use of national resources has led to wild inflation that threatens to become hyper-inflation. An almost complete lack of Foreign Exchange Currency (Forex) makes impossible the importing of adequate quantities of food (especially wheat for bread), refined petroleum products (e.g., cooking fuel, diesel fuel), and critical medicines.
The regime has no plan to lift Sudan out of this crisis—only plans to make their escape to the riches they have deposited overseas, mainly in rich Arab countries.
The grotesque assessment offered by the IMF’s Gemayel is tacitly accepted by an international community that, for various reasons, refuses to confront the Khartoum regime over its enormously destructive and finally immoral economic policies. The acceptance is yet another disgrace in the world’s response to a tyranny that has cost millions of Sudanese lives during its ghastly tenure.
Headlines from the past month alone make clear just how dire the economic crisis has become, with no end in sight:
• Sudan economic crisis: Families survive on left-overs from restaurants | Radio Dabanga, October 3, 2018 | KHARTOUM
The left-overs of restaurants in the more luxurious district of El Amarat in Khartoum have become a welcome meal for many impoverished families in the neighbourhood.
• Bread shortage as gas supply runs low in El Gedaref, Sudan | Radio Dabanga, October 24, 2018 | EL GEDAREF / KHARTOUM / OMDURMAN
• North Darfur union official accused of selling state sorghum worth SDG11 million | Radio Dabanga, October 1, 2018 | EL FASHER
An investigation by North Darfur authorities has confirmed the sale of more than 25,000 sacks of sorghum valued at more than SDG11 million ($390,000*) from the state’s quota of food for workers.
• Cash shortage threatens Sudan’s sesame, sorghum harvest | Radio Dabanga, October 1 , 2018 | EL GEDAREF
The head of the agricultural committee of El Gedaref state legislative council, El Safi El Awad, says that the state needs SDG 1.5 billion ($53.2 million*), one million workers, and 132,000 barrels of diesel to harvest sesame and sorghum crops. He warned of the failure of harvesting operations and the loss of more than nine million acres of cultivated area for this season.
• Cash crisis discourages vital farming in Sudan | Radio Dabanga, September 28, 2018 | EL GEDAREF
Farmers in El Gedaref said that the liquidity shortage will have dire consequences on the harvest. The sesame harvest is now in its early stages, but banks have refused farmers to withdraw enough cash to pay employees and costs.
• Sesame harvest in eastern Sudan “in danger” | Radio Dabanga, October 21, 2018 | EL GEDAREF
Farmers in eastern Sudan’s El Gedaref fear the sesame harvest will fail this year, owing to the continuously rising costs and the scarcity of diesel, liquidity, and labour forces.
• Fuel and bread queues also return to El Gedaref, Kassala | Radio Dabanga, October 19, 2018 | EL GEDAREF / KASSALA
El Gedaref has experienced a severe gas fuel shortage for three days. Fuel stations are running empty. In Kassala state, a lack of bread is causing long queues in front of bakeries.
• Meat, vegetables, fruit scarce or unaffordable in Sudan | Radio Dabanga, October 18, 2018 | SUDAN
Listeners from various Sudanese states have renewed their complaints about the rise in the prices of food and consumer goods across the country, driven sky-high by a combination of the ongoing fuel crisis and a shortage of cash.
• Medical operations “for sale” in Sudanese hospital | Radio Dabanga, October 14, 2018 | KHARTOUM
Operations at the Ahmed Gasim Hospital in Khartoum North are allegedly offered for money, especially heart operations. Relatives of sick children complained to Radio Dabanga that the waiting list for operations is growing at the hospital.
• Supply shortage halts medical operations at East Darfur hospital | Radio Dabanga, October 9, 2018| ED DAEIN
Patients report that shortages in supplies of basic necessities have halted operation at Ed Daein Hospital in the capital of East Darfur, however official sources attribute the shut-down to the death of a staff member.
• Sudan’s diplomats, officials accused of trading forex on black market | Radio Dabanga, September 27, 2018 | KHARTOUM
Sudan’s former Undersecretary of Trade, Mohamed Nur Hamid, has accused ambassadors and officials of selling foreign currency on the black market. Speaking at a forum in Khartoum on Tuesday, he said “ ambassadors and officials change their foreign currency on the black market while they want us to change it in the banks.”
• Sudan Pound plummets against US Dollar – market volatile | Radio Dabanga, October 8, 2018 | KHARTOUM
On Sunday, the newly established Market Makers Committee appointed by the Sudanese government to determine foreign exchange rates announced the exchange rate of Sudanese Pound against the US Dollar at SDG 47.5. On the parallel market, traders reported ‘confusion’ and a high of SDG 51 for the greenback on the streets of Khartoum.
• Moderating committee brings no respite in rise of US Dollar against Sudanese Pound | Radio Dabanga, October 24, 2018 |KHARTOUM
The Market Makers Committee (MMC), established by the Sudanese government earlier this month to determine foreign exchange rates has failed to curb the increasing US Dollar (USD) rates against the Sudanese Pound (SDG) in the parallel forex market. Traders predict the greenback will soon reach SDG 60.
• Fuel crisis re-emerging in Sudan, transport tariffs double | Radio Dabanga, October 17 – 2018 KHARTOUM / EL GENEINA
After a few months of relative relief, the Sudanese capital is again witnessing queues in front of petrol stations. Bus passengers are waiting long hours for transport. The authorities of El Geneina in West Darfur have introduced fuel distribution cards.
• Power cuts, fuel shortage leave West Darfur capital in the dark | Radio Dabanga, October 15, 2018 | EL GENEINA / KHARTOUM / ABU JUBEIHA
Residents and traders in the West Darfur capital of El Geneina complain that the city has been left in total darkness after sundown for the last five days, and there is also a severe drinking water shortage.
• Power outages: Three weeks of darkness in West Darfur capital | Radio Dabanga, October 24, 2018 | EL GENEINA
The power outages in El Geneina in West Darfur have entered the third week, trying the patience of residents and traders. A number of residents and traders complain that the city has been left in total darkness after sundown for the last three weeks, and there is also a severe drinking water shortage. The authorities have developed a programme for the distribution of electricity, dividing the city into nine districts, which has caused harm to their interests, according to residents. This leads to the non-operation of water pumps which has caused the cost of a barrel of drinking water to soar.
• Power, water cuts prompt demos in West Kordofan | Radio Dabanga, October 4, 2018 | WEST KORDOFAN
On Wednesday, angry residents of El Mujlad in West Kordofan took to the streets in protest against the drinking water shortage and electricity outages. The chronic fuel shortages in the state mean that water pumps and electricity generators fall silent for lack of diesel.
• More Sudan teachers strike for salary payment | Radio Dabanga, October 23, 2018 | BINDISI / WAD BANDA
More teachers have joined a wave of strikes against the non-payment of salaries for educational workers throughout the country. A teacher protest has started in Central Darfur while in West Kordofan, teachers have continued their strike for the third consecutive day.
• Low and late pay drives teachers from South Darfur | Radio Dabanga, October 24, 2018 | NYALA
Low wages and delayed payment of salaries have prompted some teachers in South Darfur the to search for other sources of income or to move away from the state altogether. The effect is that education is becoming available only to those who can afford it.
• South Darfur teachers, state workers: September salaries still unpaid | Radio Dabanga, October 15, 2018 | NYALA / EL FULA
Teachers, officials, and civil servants in South Darfur have complained that their salaries from September have not been paid. The Central Committee of the Union of Education Workers gave the state government until today to pay.
• Sudan: More teachers strike against non-payment | Radio Dabanga, October 12, 2018 | DONGOLA / EL SALEEM
Teachers in Dongola and El Saleem in Sudan’s Northern State both entered into an open-ended strike, in an attempt to secure the payment of their salaries for the past three months.