6 November 2018

Sudan: Khartoum Faces Lack of Bread, Higher Transport Prices

Khartoum / El Obeid / Port Sudan — There has been a new rise in prices for bread and transport in Khartoum and surrounding states, as flour and fuel have become more scarce.

A resident from Khartoum told Radio Dabanga: "The states of Khartoum, El Gezira, White Nile, and Kassala have seen a significant rise in the prices of bread, this along with a diesel crisis in Khartoum for three consecutive days."

He pointed to the return of long queues of vehicles in front of fuel stations, and queues of people in front of bakeries. The shortage of fluel is also being reflected in the problems in public transport.

Khartoum 'monitors crises'

Arif Najmeldin, head of the National Flour Chamber, attributed the problems of bread in the past days to non-arrival of flour quantities that have been set by the ministry of finance for the bakeries, "amounting to 43,000 [100 kg] sacks a day".

He said that after the arrival of quantities to the bakeries the problem will "completely be resolved" and the queues will come to an end.

On Sunday, Khartoum's state ministry of finance admitted that there is a bread shortage in the state. It stressed the need to monitor the coordination of the distribution of flour, between the flour production, agents, and the union of bakeries. This should ensure that the quantities (estimated at 43,000 sacks of flour a day) flow correctly and meet the demand throughout the week.

Minister of Finance, Dr Musalam El Amir, confirmed the commitment of his ministry to provide the subsidised flour to the bakeries.

Two weeks ago, residents of El Fitihab and Dar El Salaam in Omdurman and Jabra in Khartoum have confirmed the lack of bread, and that consumers must stand in the long queues in front of the bakeries.

Back in August, the Minister of Finance, Economy and Consumer Affairs of Khartoum State, Adil Mohamed Osman, said that the bread crisis was nearing its end.

End 2017, the Sudanese government decided on a package of austerity measures in an attempt to address the huge gap in its finances. One of the measures included the liberalisation of the flour market which lead to the doubling of the bread prices. Yesterday on the black market, the US Dollar price hit an all-time high as the Sudanese Pound declined to 58 per Dollar.

Flour, fuel problems

Residents of Port Sudan in eastern Sudan have also expressed resentment at the transport committee's decision to raise the tariffs on Monday. Journalist Osman Hashim told Radio Dabanga that the transport committee increased the price of bus transport from 3 Pounds to 4 Pounds.

"Mini bus tickets went from 3 and a half to 5 Pounds. Rickshaws in the market now cost 15 instead of 10 Pounds; to the city districts they cost 30 Pounds."

Residents in El Obeid, the capital of North Kordofan, also complained about the rise of prices for bread. The shortage started two weeks ago, a resident told Radio Dabanga.

In River Nile state, the minister of finance has issued a decision to set the price for seven breads on ten Pounds.

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