12 February 2019

Sudan: Shortages of Fuel and Cash, Butchers Strike

El Gezira / Dongola / Khartoum — Shortages of fuel have presisted in Sudan, paralysing trade and transport, especially in the peripheries of cities.

Truckers complained to Radio Dabanga about the lack of transportation between the capital and the states owing to the scarcity of diesel. Also a number of people in Darfur said that mobility and movement between state capitals and localities have shrunk, as passenger vechicles now depart only once a week.

The price of a gallon of diesel in the black market in Darfur is ranging from SDG250 to SDG300 ($5.20-6.30*).

El Gezira is witnessing a lack of fuel and rise of prices in the black market. A number of residents in El Gezira told Radio Dabanga that there are unprecedented queues in front of the gas stations.

They said that a gallon of benzine in the black market has risen to SDG150 ($3.15) and SDG30 ($0.60) in the pumps and a gallon of diesel in the black market SDG100 and SDG20 in the pumps.

Strike by butchers

Butchers of the market of El Haj Abdallah in southern El Gezira entered into an open-ended strike since last Sunday, in protest against raising the fees of slaughtered livestock.

One of the butchers told Radio Dabanga that the authorities increased the slaughter fee of the slaughterhouse from SDG15 ($0.30) to SDG50 ($1.05) for the sheep, and from SDG45 to SDG110 for camels and cows.,

Yet, the services of the slaughterhouse such as electricity and water are not available. He said the butchers conditioned lifting the strike with cancelling the fees.

Northern State

Residents of Dongola in Northern State have complained about a lack of fuel, bread and liquidity.

A number of residents told Radio Dabanga that there are still lines in front of the bakeries, as well as a severe shortage of fuel and a liquidity crisis.

Khartoum

The capital city Khartoum witnesses a renewed fuel crisis as well. A listener from Khartoum North told Radio Dabanga: "The queues of vehicles in front of the fuel pumps have become a familiar scene, along with the lines of women and children in front of bakeries."

A number of private vehicle owners said they are suffering to get fuel.

Sudanese Pound

The Sudanese Pound has continued its drop against the US Dollar. Yesterday, the price of a Dollar in the parallel exchange markets of Khartoum rose to SDG64 while the price of a Euro amounted to SDG71.

The Oil Ministry has called on vehicle owners and agricultural industrial machinery owners in all Sudanese state to complete the registration of their vehicles and equipment at the nearest fuel station, so as to ensure that they get the required amount of fuel.

Yesterday, the ministry said in a press statement that this action comes in the context of the Sudanese Oil Corporation seeking to combat the smuggling of petroleum products, combating the black market exchange and enforcing the policies that guarantee everyone's right to refuel.

New notes

Over the past few months, as the value of the Sudanese Pound has dropped steadily against the US Dollar.

The printing of new currency, including notes of SDG100, SDG200 and SDG500, by the Central Bank of Sudan has been necessitated by hyperinflation, coupled with a chronic shortage of hard cash. Banks have limited cash withdrawals so traders and the public prefer to keep their cash at home, rather than deposit it into banks.

A number of Sudanese citizens in Khartoum Kassala, El Gezira and Red Sea state confirmed that the liquidity crisis still exists, despite the printing of new notes.

Speaking to Radio Dabanga, they stressed the inability of banks to provide customers with their cash dues and that there is a daily struggle and queues in front of ATM machines, amid the non-operation of dozens of them and being out of service.

They pointed out that the ceiling of the withdrawal decided by the Central Bank is still set at SDG500.

A farmer from El Gezira told this station that they are selling a sack of sorghum at SDG800 in cash, instead of the real price of SDG1,000 because of the cash shortage.

* As effective foreign exchange rates can vary widely in Sudan, Radio Dabanga bases all SDG currency conversions on the Market Makers Mechanism-determined daily US Dollar rate quoted by the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS).

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