Khartoum / Darfur / Kassala — People across Sudan are complaining about a renewed rise in the prices of food and consumer goods. Traders in Darfur attributed the increased prices to the multiple levies and fees recently imposed on the goods.
Speaking to Radio Dabanga, a Darfuri trader complained about the imposition of extra fees by the authorities on about 400 commodities coming from Khartoum. "This is done on the pretext of protecting the commercial convoys between the capital and the west."
He and his colleagues are calling for the cancellation of all levies imposed on the commercial transport of the goods to Darfur.
"We cannot reduce the prices when the fees we have to pay we have to pay increased," he said. "The government announced that the war in Darfur has ended, so we do not require protection any more. So why don't the authorities alleviate the suffering of the people who have suffered so much from the conflict?"
Last week, Sudan's Committee for the Prevention of Illegal Fees Collection announced the suspension of more than 43 units on the country's highways because of illegal fees collection.
The Sudanese Central Bureau of Statistics reported early October that the inflation increased to 35,13 percent in September from 34,61 in August.
In an attempt to curb the wave of high prices and chaos, the Ministry of Commerce launched a campaign to monitor and regulate the markets in the states.
On 31 October, President Omar Al Bashir's directed the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Sudan to intervene and control the exchange rates, and reduce inflation rates.
The directives came after the US Dollar was trading at more SDG 22 on the Khartoum parallel market.
Professor Hamid Eltigani, the head of the Department of Public Policy and Administration at the American University in Cairo, commented that all the measures directed by the state will not correct the economic situation unless such actions dictate a real political reform in the country.
A listener complained from El Geneina, capital of West Darfur, that a 50-kg sack of sugar has risen to SDG 650 ($97), a kilogramme of lamb to SDG 80 ($12), and a gallon of petrol to SDG 60.
In North Darfur, people pay SDG 680 ($101) for 50 kg of sugar, and SDG 26 ($4) for a bottle of cooking oil, a trader reported.
Nyala, the capital of South Darfur, seems to be slightly cheaper. A bottle of cooking oil is sold for SDG 20, and a kg of lamb amounts to SDG 70 ($10). In South Darfur's Gireida though, people are paying SDG 30 for a bottle of cooking oil.
The average income in Sudan lies between SDG 500 and SDG1,500 ($225).
Several listeners in West Kordofan told this station that the expected drop in the prices of basic commodities after the lifting of the US trade embargo on 6 October did not take place. "The opposite happened, as many prices of goods increased significantly," one of them said.
He pointed to the continuing rise of the Dollar rate on the black market, and ridiculed recent directives by the Sudanese president to control the exchange rates and reduce the inflation. "If the government could control the exchange rates, why didn't they do it years ago?"
"Apart from the scarcity of bread for more than three months now, we are now again suffering from a rapid increase of basic goods. The price of a malwa [3.145 kg] of onions here in Abu Zabad has risen from SDG 12 to SDG 17, and a kg of beef from SDG 60 to SDG 90 in three weeks' time," he said.
"The people are getting more and more frustrated. What to do when your children need milk, and you have to pay SDG 7 ($1) for a ratul [nearly half a litre]?"
People in Kassala pay now SDG 580 ($86) instead of SDG 540, Ibrahim Mohamed Nur reported to this station.
"Despite the decrease of livestock prices in the state, a kg of veal has risen to SDG 140, a kg of lamb to SDG 100 ($15), and a kg of chicken to SDG 50," he noted.
In Khartoum said that the lifting of economic sanctions has not been reflected in prices, but led to the soaring the market prices, as a kilo of lamb meat has risen to SDG 130, beef SDG 80, onion sack 600 and a sugar sack to SDG 560.