14 August 2018

Sudan: Flour Shortage Khartoum - Man Stabbed in Bread Queue

Khartoum — The lack of flour in the Sudanese capital has been the cause of long queues in front of the bakeries that have remained open. A person was stabbed during a quarrel over bread, while schools and restaurants have been disrupted by the bread crisis.

More bakers have closed their doors following the lack of flour. Angry people in a queue in front of a bakery in Omdurman started to fight with bakery workers, and one of the residents was stabbed.

The crisis has been costing restaurants and cafeteria owners' to suffer financial losses, as they have to prepare meals for customers without the usual bread in the early morning.

Residents in Khartoum told this station that the lack of bread has also caused disruption of the daily schedule of several schools in Khartoum Bahri.

Headmasters in court

In Kassala, headmasters of the Dibeira and Argeen higher secondary schools in New Halfa locality had to appear in court because they had taken foodstuff from the market to feed their students in the boarding houses.

The headmasters of the two schools explained that they have been forced to borrow food from the market to be able to provide food to their students. They claimed that their purchase had to be delayed, as the Ministry of Education in Kassala has delayed payments to the schools.

The trial of the headmasters this week has been condemned by a number of residents of New Halfa against the backdrop of the general issues with securing enough food.

'Nearing an end'

The Minister of Finance, Economy and Consumer Affairs of Khartoum State, Adil Mohamed Osman, said that the bread crisis is nearing its end. "Khartoum will receive its full quota of flour within the next two days," he announced yesterday.

"Bakeries will work again with full capacity and thus the current bread crisis would be eliminated."

The minister stressed that the country's reserves of wheat are "very reassuring", and that problems with the supply of electricity to mills "is under control".

End 2017, the Sudanese government decided on a package of austerity measures in an attempt to address the huge gap in its finances. Its priorities did not change: more than 70 per cent of its spending is still allocated to the defence and security sectors, less than 10 per cent will be spent on health and education.

The custom duties were raised by more than 200 per cent - which immediately affected the prices of most of the goods in early January. The government further decided to liberalise the flour market which lead to the doubling of the bread prices.

In Khartoum, the editor-in-chief of El Jareeda newspaper, Ashraf Abdelaziz, commented to Radio Dabanga last month that queues for bread, diesel and traffic jams have become a common sight in Khartoum. He attributed the crisis of bread and transportation to the scarcity of diesel and flour.

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