27 December 2017

Sudan: New Measures Against Forex Speculation

Khartoum / Omdurman — On Tuesday the Sudanese Finance Ministry revealed new security and administrative measures to prevent speculation in foreign currency.

In a press statement at the Houses of Parliament in Omdurman on Tuesday, the State Minister at the Ministry of Finance Abdelrahman Dirar said that "there will be new security and administrative measures to prevent speculation in foreign currency". Dirar also declared that "the government will stop buying the US Dollar from the parallel market".

He said that the increase in the official price of the US Dollar to SDG 18 will be applied to all state institutions after the public budget is passed.

Dirar said that there would be a halt to the importation of government vehicles and furniture and the introduction of legislation to tighten the prevention of currency speculation.

Defending the increase in the customs US Dollar rate from SDG 6.9 to SDG 18, Dirar said that the government is "trying to unify the official exchange rate in all government channels".

He added that 63 per cent of imports are exempted from customs duties which will lead to a lowering in prices after the cancellation of all these duties on production inputs.

Parallel market price

In a press statement of Tuesday, the Director of the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS), Hazim Abdelgadir, announced an agreement between the bank and the Ministry of Finance that the Ministry will buy foreign currency, especially the US Dollar from the bank at the parallel market price instead of the official price.

He stressed willingness to provide the amounts needed by the Finance Ministry. "The Ministry is used to buying the US Dollar from the Central Bank at the official price which was creating problems".

Forex dealers fear arrest

Foreign currency dealers said there is great fear when dealing directly with their customers after the penalties and security measures adopted by the authorities in November, in an attempt to stem the unofficial foreign exchange market.

The measures have seen currency dealers being arrested, while others fled abroad. In early December, the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS) ordered banks to freeze the assets of dozens of Sudanese people and companies. The State Security Prosecution charged them for trading currencies, against the instructions of the CBoS. In an attempt to boost foreign currency reserves, the CBoS has also instructed all banks in Sudan to hand over remittances by Sudanese expatriates abroad in the same currency as the transfer.

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