13 September 2017

Sudan's Flour Crises 'Show Economic Crisis' - Expert

Khartoum / Kassala — Long queues in front of bakeries continued in several states in Sudan that suffer from a flour shortage. "The current bread crisis seems a preparation for the public opinion to ease the upcoming increase in the price of bread."

On Tuesday, a resident in Khartoum told Radio Dabanga about the overcrowding in front of bakeries in a number of districts of the capital city. "People have described the current crisis as a prelude to increase the price of bread."

In Kassala's New Halfa, the shortage of bread entered its fourth week. But a resident told Radio Dabanga that all eleven localities in Kassala suffer from the reduced flour quota.

"On a daily basis the bakeries are overcrowded with people standing in line starting early morning. Many do not obtain the quantity of bread they need."

The crisis worsens because the quotas of flour provided from flour distributors to bakeries are reduced, "over economic security reasons".

People in Aroma in Kassala reported that due to this, all bakeries were closed on Tuesday because they ran low on flour. Listener Ahmed Dirar: "The authorities reduced the daily flour quota to the bakeries from four to two sacks.

"Most of the school children were unable to get the bread needed for breakfast yesterday. We call on the competent authorities to expedite resolving the crisis."

Responsibility

Sudanese economic expert Dr Sidig Kabello said the government is responsible for the current bread crisis that hit the capital city and other states. He considered it to be "one of the manifestations of the suffocating economic crisis in Sudan".

"Khartoum may resort to reducting the bread size instead of increasing prices, to absorb the anger of the people."

In an interview with Radio Dabanga broadcast today, Kabello said the crisis is attributable to the shortage of foreign exchange currencies, and there were no clear import policies for flour and wheat under the former Minister of Finance, Badreldin Mahmoud.

"The current bread crisis seems a preparation for the public opinion to ease the upcoming increase in the price of bread, and to prepare the public to accept the policy of lifting the subsidies for flour which the government announced earlier."

He predicted that Khartoum will resort to a reduction of the general size of bread, instead of increasing prices: "In order to absorb the anger of people [... ] Price instability and high inflation would lead to widespread resentment among people."

Kabello denied that there are subsidies in place for flour as the price of flour in Sudan exceeds the global price, in comparison to the official price of the US dollar. "The relative stop of the exchange rate of the Dollar against the Pound in the black market at SDG21 has had serious effects on imports and remittances, which reflected on the transport sector."

In this regard, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ibrahim Ghandour, started his visit to Washington on Tuesday, among others to address the bread crisis and demand a return of Unitd States aid.

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