The Collapse of Sudan’s Economy is Accelerating, Along with Human Suffering
Eric Reeves | May 10, 2018 | https://wp.me/p45rOG-2ff
Dispatches just from this month (May 2018) coming from Radio Dabanga, Sudan Tribune, Asharq al-Awsat, and a few others make clear that Sudan’s grossly mismanaged—and rapaciously pillaged—economy is deteriorating with increasing speed. The ripple effects of fuel shortages—deriving ultimately from an almost complete lack of hard currency (Foreign Exchange Currency, or Forex)—are now paralyzing much of the country, with extraordinarily severe and destructive consequences for the agricultural sector. People are now dying from lack of water because there is no fuel to pump it; humanitarians in the various peripheral regions of Sudan are finding it increasingly difficult to move supplies. And life amidst accelerating, catastrophic inflation—directly related to the lack of Forex and the immense costs of imported food, medicine, and fuel—is growing increasingly grim. Shortages and unaffordably high prices are costing lives and livelihoods.
The international community is content to ignore the implications of this crisis, one that has clear political implications—particularly since the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime is engaged in extreme repression of domestic news coverage of economic issues, and is prepared to deal brutally with the continuing demonstrations—demonstrations that will only become more frequent and angry. Saudi Arabia is offering some help, as repayment for Sudan’s assistance in conducting its savage counter-insurgency war against the Houthis in Yemen (when it was strategically allied with Iran, the Khartoum regime aided the Teheran-backed Houthis). But Saudi Arabia cannot save the Sudanese economy, or do more than partially remedy the lack of fuel.
Sooner or later, the anger generated by the collapsing Sudanese economy will bring about demonstrations that can only be controlled by issuing “shoot to kill” orders to police and security forces, as was the case in September 2013—and threatened by indicted génocidaire and president of the NIF/NCP regime in December 2016. Only then will we likely see Western news interest, but violence may well be spinning out of control at that point.
No one international actor is responsible for allowing this kleptocratic regime to destroy the Sudanese economy. But none bears greater responsibility than the United States, which under former President Obama defined the terms by which regime tyranny would be tolerated, indeed encouraged:
“We [the Obama administration] do not want to see the ouster of the [Khartoum] regime, nor regime change. We want to see the regime carrying out reform via constitutional democratic measures.” (Princeton Lyman, former U.S. Special Envoy for the Sudans during the Obama administration, interview with Asharq al-Awsat, December 3, 2011 | http://english.aawsat.com/2011/12/article55244147/asharq-al-awsat-talks-to-us-special-envoy-to-sudan-princeton-lyman )
This utterly preposterous assessment of the Khartoum regime—viciously cynical and contradicted by every fact we have from the past six and a half years of Sudan’s history—has never been disowned, either by a senior Obama administration official or by any official of the Trump administration. It stands as the United States government policy position of record in assessing the genocidal National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime, despite the total lack of “reform via constitutional democratic measures” Lyman speaks of. The blood that will inevitably flow in the streets of Khartoum and numerous other locations in Sudan will be on many hands, but on none so copiously as those of the United States, guided not by a concern for “democracy” in Sudan but by lust for the putative counter-terrorism intelligence and “cooperation” this brutally cruel and mendacious regime is providing.
May 2018 Dispatches on Sudan’s Economy (edited for highlighting purposes)
• Expert: “Economic catastrophe will affect stability in Sudan” | Radio Dabanga, May 3, 2018 | KHARTOUM
Economic expert Prof Hasan Bashir has warned that the current economic crisis will lead to a catastrophic situation and increasing social tension that will affect stability in Sudan.
Prof Bashir, a professor of economics at Sudan’s El Nilein University, said in an interview broadcast on Radio Dabanga today, that “the economic scene in the country is chronic to a large extent and there are no signs of dealing with the crisis.” He predicted exacerbation of the crisis by the holy month of Ramadan and the upcoming agricultural season.
Prof. Bashir considered that the agricultural season is a pivotal point in the Sudanese economy and warned of the serious effects of its failure. He conditioned for the reduction of the catastrophic effects of the current crisis the success of the upcoming agricultural season by more than 75 per cent to ensure food and social security and to provide exports of sesame and livestock.
• Sudan fuel crisis, Internet outage cause disruptions | Radio Dabanga, May 2, 2018 | SUDAN
The severe fuel shortage that is impacting transport, agriculture, utilities, services, and commodity prices across Sudan, continues to cause disruptions in several states. The disruption of Sudani Internet network in Abu Jubeiha in South Kordofan has prevented any financial transactions by banks since Sunday. A bank employee told Radio Dabanga that as a result of the disruption, the banks in Abu Jubeiha have been suspended from Sunday until Tuesday. He said that the stalling of the financial transactions of banks has affected all commercial activity in the town.
Sodari in North Kordofan and border towns in North and West Kordofan have been suffering from severe thirst as a result of a lack of the shut-down of the water pumping engines since the beginning of the fuel crisis a month ago. The price of a gallon of petrol has amounted to SDG 600 (*$21.30) and a gallon of diesel SDG 300 ($10.66) Mohamed Teirab of the leadership of the Sudanese Congress Party told Radio Dabanga from Sodari that “The water crisis has intensified in those areas two weeks ago where thirst caused death of livestock, especially sheep amid occurrence of severe conflicts at the water resources. The price of a barrel of water has amounted to SDG 40 ($1.42) in Abu Zabad in West Kordofan.
The electricity supply has been reduced to two hours instead of five hours due to lack of fuel. The fuel crisis caused shortages of medicines in various localities in El Gedaref state. Witnesses told Radio Dabanga that medicine vehicles and medical supplies were unable to provide the women of the locality with medicines due to lack of fuel for a week. They warned that the health situation in the localities would worsen in the event the medicine crisis persists. They reported the long lines of vehicles in front of fuel stations on Tuesday.
• Sudan fuel shortage slows humanitarian aid: UN agencies | Radio Dabanga, May 4, 2018 | KHARTOUM
The ongoing nationwide fuel shortages in Sudan are slowing down humanitarian operations. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported in its latest update on South Sudanese refugee response that the fuel shortages across Sudan worsened at the end of March, affecting response logistics. UNHCR said that while some relief has been provided with renewed availability of fuel supplies, it anticipates on additional shortages in the coming months, said the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in its latest news bulletin.
In South Kordofan, some international NGOs are not able to access their pre-positioned fuel stocks stored at fuelling stations in the State capital, Kadugli. They are only allowed to receive a limited amount of fuel, not considered enough for their operations. The UN has requested from the Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) in South Kordofan to facilitate INGOs’ access to fuel stocks.
As for UN agencies, the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) has agreed to supply fuel to all UN agencies based in South Kordofan. In addition the lack of diesel for generators and water pumps will impact the cold chain for vaccines and could lead to shortages of water for drinking, livestock and agriculture, which will eventually impact food security. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) confirmed this in its Early Warning Early Action report on food security and agriculture for April-June 2018, and that the situation threatens the 2018/2019 agricultural season.
Expensive transport: expensive food
In its latest update Famine Early Warning System Network (Fews Net) reports that fuel shortages across most parts of Sudan worsened towards the end of March, beginning of April. This coincided with the high inflation and local currency depreciation following macro-economic changes in Sudan’s new annual budget. This has led to high transportation costs, which in turn resulted in high prices of food and non-food items across different parts of the country. Speaking to Radio Dabanga yesterday, Dr Hasan Bashir, economist at El Nilein University in Khartoum, said that the rise of the exchange rate of the US Dollar has led to a rise of production costs in Sudan. “It has aggravated the cyclical inflation and prices, as well as the deterioration of purchasing power which the Sudanese Pound holds.”
On Thursday residents in El Obeid, the capital of North Kordofan, reported a new rise in the prices of tickets for local transportation: from three Pounds to ten Pounds. The city is still lacking diesel. “We have to use the rickshaw instead of the buses, because buses have stopped operating,” a resident explained. “Now the price for a rickshaw ticket has gone up to SDG10 per passenger.” In addition El Obeid electricity distribution centres in several districts have shut down to be confined into one centre.
“Three days ago the electricity department shut down all electricity distribution centres in the city and kept one centre in operation. This resulted in people standing in long lines to buy their electricity,” another listener of Radio Dabanga said. The closure of the electricity centres came after the announcement by the city’s water administration office, that the water service bills will be connected to electricity bills starting May.
• Sudan fuel crisis “has reached its limit” | Radio Dabanga, May 6, 2018 | SUDAN
The fuel crisis that has been plaguing Sudan since March has led to an almost entire stop of traffic and public transport, especially in the periphery of the country. Officials attribute the scarcity of fuel to the corruption in the country. “The Sudanese call the ongoing fuel scarcity ‘katma’ [suppression, stifling], which means that the crisis has reached its limit,” an angry listener reported from Khartoum. “We are unable to move within the city or to other places. Buses are standing idle as the owners cannot afford the ridiculously high petrol and diesel prices at the black market,” he complained.
The fuel crisis prompted a number of car owners to perform their Friday prayers at the Petro-Energy petrol station, next to the Military Intelligence offices in Khartoum. Activists took pictures and videos of them and posted them on social media to contradict Sudanese officials who claimed the crisis has been solved.
The transportation in many places in Darfur has stopped entirely because of the depletion of fuel.
[This will quickly translate into shortages of food and medicine, as well as a lack of fuel for pumping water—ER]
“The black-market price of a barrel of petrol ranges from SDG 9,000 ($ 320*) to SDG 14,000 ($ 500) and diesel between SDG 7,000 and SDG 9,000,” a car owner reported from El Fasher, capital of North Darfur. He said that the scarcity of fuel led to skyrocketing prices of basic commodities. “The price of a [100kg] sack of millet rose from SDG 1,500 pounds to SDG 2,100, and a [100kg] sack of sorghum from SDG 1,400 to SDG 2,000. We now pay SDG 1,500 ($ 53) for a [50kg] sack of sugar.”
The deputy director of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), Jalaleldin El Sheikh, pointed to “a defect in the economic system” during a visit to Nyala, capital of South Darfur. He further accused “certain corrupt circles” of exploiting the fuel crisis for their own interests. According to former Finance Minister Abdelrahim Hamdi, the country’s economic crisis is caused by the widespread corruption in the country. “The fat cats are known by name. They control the entire sugar and cement trade in Sudan,” he told reporters in Khartoum on Friday. The former minister expects the economic crisis to continue if economic and political freedoms are not restored.
An employee of El Jeili Refineries north of Khartoum that stopped operating a month ago because of annual maintenance, attributed the scarcity of fuel to the reduction of quotas of petroleum products distributed to companies. “The crisis will most probably continue,” he told this station. “I doubt the Ministry of Oil will be able to meet the consumption needs after the government’s stocks decreased.” In December last year, economists predicted a serious fuel crisis after the final decommissioning of the Port Sudan refinery, and the shutdown of El Jeili refinery for maintenance in early March.
Farmers in Sudan, especially in the eastern and central parts of the country, have warmed for harvest failures because of the scarcity of fuel. Members of El Gezira and El Managil Scheme, south of Khartoum, reported to Radio Dabanga two weeks ago that owners of tractors increased the lease price to be able to cope with the increase of the fuel prices. In El Gedaref, crops are in danger because of the lack of fuel needed for the irrigation pumps.
“The sorghum harvest is fully paralysed because of the ongoing lack of diesel needed for our [harvesting] machines. The irrigation pumps are stalled for the same reason, which means that the cultivation of vegetables this year will almost certainly fail,” a farmer told this station. Owners of orchards and vegetable farms in South Kordofan fear they will lose their crops because of the lack of fuel needed for the water pumps.
In its Early Warning Early Action report on food security and agriculture for April-June 2018, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) confirmed that the continuing scarcity of fuel is threatening the 2018-2019 agricultural season. The Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET) reported in its latest update that the “continued impact of the deteriorating macro-economic situation in Sudan has been exacerbated by the fuel shortages across the country between late March and the beginning of April 2018. This has led to high transportation costs, which resulted in high prices of food and non-food items across different parts of the country.” FEWS NET predicts a decline in the food security situation in South Kordofan, Kassala, and North Darfur between June and September.
The fuel shortages are slowing down humanitarian operations as well. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported in its latest update on the situation of South Sudanese refugees in Sudan that the lack of fuel across Sudan, which worsened at the end of March, is affecting response logistics.
In end April, the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) prohibited the press in Sudan to publish any information related to the fuel crisis. In a directive to the editors-in-chief of newspapers, the NISS instructed them not to cover the crisis, protests, and demonstrations but “to be satisfied with official statements issued by the government on these topics.”
Sudan has no strategic reserve of fuel: minister | Sudan Tribune, May 2, 2018 (KHARTOUM)
A senior official at the Ministry of Oil said Sudan has run out of strategic reserves of fuel due to lack of foreign exchange. Since April, Sudan suffered an acute countrywide shortage of gasoline and diesel. The shortage comes as the economy continues to suffer from surging inflation and lack of foreign currency. The State Minister of Oil Saad al-Din Bushra warned the government against failure to provide foreign currency to import petroleum products.
Speaking before the parliament on Wednesday, Bushra said the current fuel crisis would be resolved within 4 to 5 days, pointing however it would return again if the government failed to provide the necessary foreign exchange. The minister accused unnamed government organs of making wrong interventions that lead to the creation of gasoline black market. He pointed out that the government has run out of the petroleum strategic reserve, saying if fuel storages were filled fully, it wouldn’t meet the country’s needs for one month. Bushra added his ministry seeks to import oil through deferred payment method in order to resolve the fuel crisis.
He said Sudan consumes 8800 metric tones of gasoline and 3600 metric tones of benzene, pointing that Khartoum refinery produces only 2650 metric tones which covers 75 percent of the total consumption. The minister said 122,622 metric tones of petroleum products have been secured for the agricultural purposes, saying the Khartoum refinery is still on the trial run following the recent maintenance work and will resume production within 7 to 10 days.
He pointed out that the maintenance work at Khartoum refinery should have been carried out since 2016 but the government failed to provide $102 million for that purpose.
[Time and again, the current regime has failed to make the most basic investments in the Sudanese economy, thereby exacerbating present crises—ER]
• Sudan fuel shortage hikes black market prices | Agence France-Presse, May 5, 2018
[One of the only international news dispatches about the economic catastrophe afflicting Sudan—ER]
Black market fuel prices surged on Saturday in Khartoum and other Sudanese towns as petrol and diesel shortages forced residents to queue for hours outside gas stations. Fuel supplies began dwindling in early April, with officials blaming maintenance delays at a key refinery, although foreign currency shortages have also played a role.
The crisis has since escalated despite official pledges to resolve it. The shortage has hiked prices of petrol on the black market, with a gallon costing 150 pounds ($5.30) in Khartoum, over five times the official price of 27 pounds. “I purchased two gallons at this high cost from the black market,” said Mohamed Abbas, a resident of a working class neighbourhood in the capital. “I bought it from someone who had filled his car tank after waiting the whole night at a fuel station.”
Another Khartoum resident told AFP that he too had waited through the night outside a fuel station to fill his tank. “From 23:00 Friday until 07:00 today I was waiting in my car at a fuel station,” he said. Most petrol stations were receiving less than their allotted quotas of petrol and diesel, with attendants often keeping the outlets shut once they sold their stock.
Farmers too complained that they were unable to transport their products to market as hundreds of trucks had been grounded. “My entire crop of tomatoes is destroyed,” said Ali Khider, a farmer from the state of Jazira. “For a week now I have been unable to transport it to the main market because there is no vehicle.”
Officials promised a quick end to the crisis, saying it was caused by a delay in maintenance work at the country’s main refinery north of Khartoum. But an acute shortage of foreign currency has also aggravated the situation. “There are some oil tankers waiting at Port Sudan to be unloaded but there’s a delay in paying them,” Minister of State for Oil Saadeddin Bushra told lawmakers this week. The crisis comes amid surging inflation that has triggered sporadic anti-government protests in Khartoum and other towns.
• SCP: Sudan political and economic crisis “at point of no return” | Radio Dabanga, May 7, 2018 | KHARTOUM
The fuel crisis is still raging across Sudan, despite the official comments that the crisis is about to come to an end, this along with sharp rise in commodity prices in the markets.
Khalid Omar, the deputy president of the Sudanese Congress Party (SCP), said that the political and economic crisis in the country has entered the stage of no return and that the only way out is for this regime to go.
[This is clearly the view of the overwhelming majority of Sudanese, despite the expedient mendacity of former U.S. Special Envoy for the Sudans Princeton Lyman—ER]
He said in an interview with Radio Dabanga that the regime’s response to this crisis was not political or economic in search of a real solution, but the regime chose the security response to show off its security forces and militias.
Omar described this political response as short-term with limited results that cannot persist because the regime is spending the few remaining resources to maintain itself rather than to resolve the crisis. He explained that the political opposition to the regime exists, has already led demonstrations in the street, its leaders have been detained and is still on a daily basis working to generate the mass movement required to overthrow the regime so as to improve the quality of resistance.
[None of this is reported internationally—ER]
Broad National Front
Ali Mahmoud Hasanein, the head of the Broad National Front sent a recorded message to the Sudanese people urging them to protest against the current situation and fight injustice to change the regime. He said that the current crisis of petroleum products has affected all of Sudan where the vehicles queue in lines in order to obtain fuel at a time when the treasury of the state has become empty of funds and lost the balance of hard currency as recognised by the officials themselves. Hasanein explained in his message that the general situation and the stop of the wheel of life as a result of the lack of fuel seem like a political strike wondered why we should not embark on an all-out civil disobedience or popular uprising.
• “Faulty fuel” in Sudan’s Sennar as crisis drags-on | Radio Dabanga, May 9, 2018 | SENNAR / NYALA / KADUGLI
Vehicle owners in Singa, capital of Sennar reported that their vehicles malfunctioned after they supplied them with fuel from one of the town’s service pumps on Monday and Tuesday. The fuel crisis has led to dryness of crops and other orchards along the banks of the Blue Nile river in Sennar. Orchard owner Adil Yagoub told Radio Dabanga that “The orchards planted with tomatoes, bananas and onions which rely on irrigation with pumps have been subjected to thirst and burning due to the lack of diesel.” He said that the quantities of diesel certified by the security services are inadequate which doubled the losses.
On Tuesday students and residents of Nyala protested the lack of transportation because of the inability of the government to supply petrol and chanted against the government. Yesterday morning the fuel crisis paralysed movement in Nyala. Residents said the available vehicles are few compared to the city’s population and the crisis has continued despite the begging the security forces to transport people from the gathering places.
• Red Sea towns lack pharmacies, water service | Radio Dabanga, May 1, 2018 | DURDEIB
Villages east of Durdeib in Red Sea state completely lack educational, health and water services. Badly drilled water wells might be demolished by any water torrent in the rainy season. The situation involves five villages east of Durdeib, including Adaqi, Marawit, Adar and Mimish. Omda Mohamadein Omar said that these areas do not have a health centre or a pharmacy. “This means that people have to take a camel to visit the hospital in Durdeib. As a result, a patient died of the three-day trip to Durdeib hospital last week.”
Omar said that the only water well was drilled by residents themselves. “Any water torrent will demolish it, which will deprive people of access to water.” There are approximately 3,400 residents in the villages, according to the national number data. “This in addition to a large group that is not registered and have no national number.” The omda said that he met with officials of the Sudanese security service, the police and the locality commissioner. They have promised to reflect their grievances to the governor. “These reports have been advocated by people in the area since 2007, the date of the establishment of Durdeib locality.”
In March, a journalist reported from Durdeib that the area has witnessed a shortage of potable water for more than six months. It had started following the non-operation of the local water station. As a result the price of a barrel of water rose. In August last year, Durdeib was among the localities affected by water torrents during the rainy season. Parts of the national road at Gadmair area were washed away.
[This is only one example of what is extremely widespread in Darfur—ER]
• One death confirmed as water shortage now life-threatening to miners in Sudan | Radio Dabanga, May 10, 2018 | NORTHERN SUDAN
According to reports from mining areas on the border triangle between Sudan, Egypt, and Libya and on the other border triangle of the Red Sea in the Northern state, and River Nile state, tens of thousands of people are at risk of dying of thirst because of lack of water resulting from the nationwide fuel shortage.
• Sudan opposition head condemns government silence on economic crisis | Radio Dabanga, May 9, 2018 | KHARTOUM
Dr Mohamed El Mahdi Hasan, the head of the Political Bureau of Sudan’s opposition National Umma Party (NUP), said that the political and economic crisis in Sudan has escalated in an unprecedented manner in the light of an official government silence. In an interview with Radio Dabanga, Dr Hasan ridiculed the statements made by government officials to ease the fuel crisis and on the restart of El Jeili refinery. He pointed to the continuation of the queues of vehicles in front of petrol stations and crowding of people in the transportation stations yesterday.
Dr Hassan explained that the crisis has severely affected drinking water in east and west Sudan. He criticised the government for not explaining the matter to the citizens and leaving them to the rumours and speculations and warned of the serious social and moral effects of economic crises. He said that visiting delegations to Sudan do not have the keys to the solution; rather do they come to Khartoum to achieve their interests.
• Sudan PM: Austerity Measures Aim to Avert Total Economic Collapse | Asharq al-Awsat, May 1, 2018
In a rare admission, Sudan’s prime minister acknowledged his country’s crisis of foreign exchange shortages and economic imbalances caused by the liberalization and privatization policy, which negatively impacted the economy. Prime Minister Bakri Hassan Saleh on Monday said that the government’s recent economic measures were necessary to avert the overall economic collapse.
[The policy views expressed here by Prime Minister and First Vice-President Bakri suggest tensions within the regime in the face of the economic catastrophe now playing out—ER]
Since March, Khartoum and the rest of the country have suffered a shortage of diesel fuel, gasoline and cooking oil, which led to long queues at gas stations. “We deeply feel the suffering of our people—we see the long lines for gasoline—but we’re working hard to resolve the problem,” Saleh asserted. Addressing members of the parliament, he said that Sudan had no other alternative but to press ahead with austerity measures, adopted in early 2018. “We have no choice but to maintain the policy of economic liberalization. We must implement economic reform and restructure our economy,” he added.
The PM revealed that the oil ministry had asked for $102 million from the government, which it had failed to pay. This consequently led to the crisis. He however predicted that the fuel crisis will be resolved within two days after the Khartoum oil refinery resumed operation. This is the first time that an official of this level has criticized the “policy of economic liberalization” adopted by the government of President Omar al-Bashir.
[This is of enormous significance if there is indeed an internal power struggle within the regime—ER]
Saleh said: “The policy of absolute liberalization and privatization has produced a degree of imbalance, which has had a negative impact on the efficiency of the economy at home and abroad.” The resulting imbalances affected the exchange rate of the national currency and the balance of payments, he continued. The prime minister went on to point out that the country’s trade deficit had widened in 2017, noting that GDP had increased over the same period.
• Sudan economic crisis: Khartoum to close 17 diplomatic missions | Radio Dabanga, May 6, 2018 | KHARTOUM
The Sudanese government plans to close 17 diplomatic missions following failure to pay the salaries of its diplomats for more than seven months. In a presidential decree released on Wednesday evening, President Omar Al Bashir ordered the closure of 13 embassies and four consulates. The official Sudan News Agency SUNA reported on Thursday that all economic and commercial attaché sections will be shut as well. The diplomatic post in Abu Dhabi which is preparing for Sudan’s participation in the Expo 2020, will be closed after the event. The Presidency also decided to significantly cut on the personnel at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other foreign posts. The administrative staff will be cut by 20 per cent. Added to a previous reduction of 30 per cent, the total reduction of foreign affairs staff in Sudan and abroad will be 50 per cent.
[A measure of just how little Forex is available to the regime—ER]
• Students held, beaten as Sudan crisis demo dispersed | Radio Dabanga, May 10, 2018 | EL GEDAREF / KHARTOUM
Agents of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) detained 13 students of the University of El Gedaref in Sudan and violently dispersed a student protest.
At least 15 students were injured when NISS agents ‘used excessive force’ to disperse the mass demonstration organised by the students of the university in protest against the absence of security, the deteriorating conditions in the dormitories and the lack of water, electricity and hike of prices. Witnesses from El Gedaref told Radio Dabanga that the demonstrations went from the students’ dormitories to the governor’s residence chanting slogans denouncing the deteriorating situation. They said the demonstrators closed the road to the female students’ dormitory in the town centre.
They said that a force of security and police broke up the demonstration using excessive violence, rubber bullets and tear gas, resulting in the arrest of 13 students and causing 15 others varying injuries and shortness of breath. They reported that a number of citizens joined the demonstration.
• Strike by 20,000+ cargo workers paralyses Port Sudan | Radio Dabanga, May 2, 2018 | PORT SUDAN
More than 20,000 cargo workers carried out a comprehensive strike in all ports of Port Sudan for nine hours on Tuesday in protest against the state government establishing holding companies to replace the association of cargo and unloading workers. A number of cargo workers told Radio Dabanga that the strike led to total paralysis in the ports of Port Sudan and stopped the movement of landing and shipping of goods. They said that the security forces and police besieged the Northern and Southern Port and the security apparatus detained the head of the Cargo Workers Union, Tahir Omar, before releasing him hours later.
[This workers’ strike is particularly significant, and it is clear these people understand full well that the “holding companies” are little more than a way for the regime to enrich its political cronies, its almost singular source of political support outside the military and security forces—ER]
The workers considered the establishment of holding companies to be managed by influential people instead of the association of unloading and unloading workers as damaging to them. They say that the current system has ensured stability of work in the port for decades with a system acceptable to all workers. They said the government began to establish holding companies by appointing administrative officers to start the implementation of the companies’ project which led to widespread protests among the workers.
• Unpaid teachers to stage sit-in at ministry in Sudan capital | Radio Dabanga, May 7, 2018 | KHARTOUM
The teachers committee announced a sit-in against the Ministry of State Education in Khartoum to protest against the non-payment of salaries and appealed to all teachers to rally in front of the Ministry at 11 am on Tuesday. Duriya Babikir, head of the Teachers’ Committee, condemned the ministry’s decision to withdraw the SDG 130 (*$4.62) meal allowance from the teachers of the basic stage. She told Radio Dabanga that higher secondary school teachers in Khartoum have not been paid their salaries of April until now.
She held the Ministry of Finance responsible for failing to comply with the instructions of the Ministry of Education to pay the salaries by the fifth of the beginning of each month, as in the other sectors in the state.
[More evidence that the regime is completely financially bankrupt—ER]
The teachers staged a similar sit-in in March to protest the delay in salary payments in front of the Ministry of Education.
• Red Sea councillor “threatened with dismissal” for criticising ports policy | Radio Dabanga, May 9, 2018 | PORT SUDAN
A Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) of the Red Sea state reported that he was threatened with dismissal by the Speaker of the Council because of criticising the governor of the state for transfer of the cargo and unloading association into companies.
[At this point, threats and repression are the only tools left to the regime—ER]
Mohamed Tahir said that the Speaker of the Legislative Council threatened him in an open session in the presence of the deputy governor and a number of ministers. He said that the speaker of the Legislative Council also threatened him to lift his immunity and bring him to trial. He wondered about the law on which the Speaker of the Council based his ban from talking to media about citizens’ issues.
In an earlier press release, Mohamed Tahir confirmed his intention to summon the governor before the Legislative Council on the crisis of cargo and unloading workers.
• Sudan press banned from reporting on fuel crisis | Radio Dabanga, May 2, 2018 | KHARTOUM
The National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) has forbidden newspapers in Sudan from publishing any material related to the fuel crisis that has impacted the entire country for several months. The NISS ban includes writing about protests and demonstrations or “negatively writing about goods.” In a directive to the editors of newspapers, the NISS called on them not to cover the crisis, but “to be satisfied with the official statements issued by the government on these topics.”
Yesterday, the Sudanese Journalists Network said in a statement that in order to continue to block information from public opinion, the newspapers were banned from dealing with the dire fuel crisis that has prevailed in the country for some time. The network said the directive came as part of a series of bannings of the Sudanese press from dealing with the country’s crises.
A countrywide fuel shortage has forced grain mills to shut-down and water pumping engines to fall silent in many states of Sudan, especially in the most remote areas. The fuel crisis in most Sudanese states including Kordofan, Darfur, the Eastern states has created problems in access to water, consumer goods and transportation.
It is worth noting that Sudan is ranked 174th in the world according to the Reporters without Borders (RSF) index on press freedom.
• Continued press confiscations in Sudan | Radio Dabanga, May 9, 2018 | KHARTOUM
The National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) in Sudan has continued to confiscate newspapers from printing press for the third day in a row. Yesterday it confiscated El Sayha daily newspaper from the printing press without any explanation. The confiscation of El Sayha came after the confiscation of El Jareeda newspaper on Monday and Akhbar El Watan newspaper on Sunday. The security services issued direct instructions to the editors of the newspapers not to write about the fuel crisis, the queues of vehicles, the prices and the liquidity crisis that hit the country and paralyzed the movement of trade and transportation in the capital and the states.
• NISS confiscates newspapers covering Sudan crises | Radio Dabanga, May 8, 2018 | KHARTOUM
On Monday morning, the Sudanese security apparatus (NISS) confiscated all 8,500 copies of El Jareeda newspaper from the printing press. It is the second newspaper to be confiscated within 24 hours. El Jareeda editor-in-chief Ashraf Abdelaziz told Radio Dabanga yesterday that members of the security service arrived at 2am on Monday and seized all 8,500 printed copies of the newspaper. “The confiscation of the copies has caused financial losses which we estimate to be more than SDG40,000 (*$1,421) for not catching up the distribution to our agents.
“One of the most likely reasons for the confiscation,” said Abdelaziz, “is our coverage of the issue of the displacement of about 1,500 people because of fighting in the Jebel Marra in Central Darfur.” The confiscation came a day after the NISS had confiscated the newspaper Akhbar El Watan, which is owned by the Sudanese Congress Party (SCP), from the printing press on Sunday morning.
Abdelaziz: “We received instructions from the security apparatus not to deal with any issues related to the crises.” The warning also included no coverage of the economic crisis, the fuel crisis, and the rise in food and consumer good prices—“especially the price for sugar.”
The editor-in-chief considered that as an impossible task. “This is difficult in the reality of an editorial room: the newspaper cannot disregard such crises without expressing the concerns and issues of Sudanese people.”
• Saudi Arabia will supply oil to Sudan at preferential price | Sudan Tribune, May 7, 2018 (KHARTOUM)
Saudi Arabia will supply oil to Sudan for the next five years at preferential prices, disclosed a Sudanese minister on Monday. Sudan’s oil minister Abdel Rahman Osman said according to the agreement which will be signed in the upcoming days Saudi Arabia will provide Sudan with 1.8 million tonnes of oil a year. The deal aims to fill Sudan’s fuel consumption gap as the country has experienced an acute fuel shortage during the past weeks due to the lack of hard currency to buy oil from the international market.