Khartoum – The continuing deterioration in economic and living conditions in Sudan is a consequence of the government policy that has been ineffective since August 2019, says economic expert Sidgi Kaballo.
More than two years after the overthrow of dictator Omar Al Bashir’s regime, the Sudanese are still experiencing price increases, deteriorating health care, power and drinking water failures, and traders complaining about customer-empty markets.
In an interview broadcast on Monday with Radio Dabanga, Dr. Sidgi Kaballo, economist and prominent member of the Communist Party of Sudan, that the transitional government had set the wrong priorities since it was formed in August 2019.
Kaballo says it is a big mistake to implement the IMF’s set of conditions for government borrowing before working on improving internal mechanisms.
“The government has been paying more attention to exchange rates and the budget deficit to keep the International Monetary Fund (IMF) happy,” he said. “It would have been much better to focus on reforming the country’s economic processes, increasing production capacities and improving infrastructure.
“In this way, the suffering of the Sudanese population is unnecessarily prolonged as they have to struggle with rising inflation rates.”
In July, the average inflation rate rose to 422.78 percent, an increase of 10.03 percent compared to June.
Kaballo advised the government to “slow down negotiations with the IMF after the first part has been completed.” They should then focus first on internal reforms, removing exploitative elements from the economy, expanding agriculture, particularly the El Gezira program the problems structurally solve power failures through the construction of solar power plants. “
Internal reforms should focus on “reforming the export sector, restoring the progressive tax law based on type of production, and most importantly, recovering the economy from the parasites *”. In particular, the government should press ahead with reforming the banking system, “which wasted huge sums of money on these parasites,” and regained its monopoly on imports of oil.
He praised the government’s decision to limit imports of luxury goods and allow expatriate transfers to the banking system, “which has also contributed to the stability of the Sudanese pound”.
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The economist also called on the transitional government to “benefit from grants, loans and investments from the international community in the fields of irrigation and solar energy”.
In late June, former banker and civil society activist Hafiz Ismail also told Radio Dabanga that current government policies, including the elimination of subsidies as conditioned by the IMF, are disastrous for the people.
In a country where more than 80 percent of people live below the poverty line, subsidies cannot be cut and exchange rates liberalized, he said.
“People don’t enjoy three meals a day and can’t get medication because they can’t afford it. People can’t send their children to school. They are no longer economically viable now that fuel prices have risen so sharply,” explained the financial analyst.
Like Kaballo, Ismail also advised the government to fundamentally reform and fundamentally reform the economic system. “You can’t just put in a policy of phasing out subsidies and expect the economy to adjust. You are killing the economy instead of reviving it. This is a very dangerous development,” he said.
* Kaballo here refers to members of the former Al-Bashir regime who got rich by starting companies with great privileges. The interim government formed the Empowerment Elimination, Anti-Corruption and Funds Recovery Committee in November 2019 with the aim of liberating Sudan from the remnants of the Al-Bashir regime. Although the committee was instrumental in breaking the old regime’s influence on the political stage and state resources, it failed to break the corrupt trading system developed over 30 years of dictatorship.