Sudanese Protest Lifting of Fuel Subsidies

(file photo)

Khartoum — Sudanese protesters burned tires in part of the capital, Khartoum, Wednesday night, after the government lifted all subsidies on gasoline and diesel.

Finance Minister Jibril Ibrahim announced Tuesday that prices will be determined by the cost of importing and transporting gas and diesel, along with taxes and profit margins.

The new fuel prices are in line with import costs, said a Finance Ministry statement.

Under the new pricing system, fuel will increase from about 35 cents to nearly 70 cents per liter, while the price of diesel will more than double.

Sudan has been moving to implement financial reforms monitored by the International Monetary Fund in hopes of turning around its economy and attracting foreign financing.

Freelance reporter Amira Saleh said the higher prices will negatively affect her work and family.

"The salary of an ordinary Sudanese employee is not enough to cover all the needs and therefore, with this increase on fuel, the situation is going to be worse," Saleh told VOA's "South Sudan in Focus" show.

Amu Adil, who works as an electronic technician in Khartoum's Jabra neighborhood, said the fuel price hike will lead to higher prices for other basic commodities, which will make life difficult for ordinary citizens.

"Fuel is connected to all sorts of lives. Traders will charge any single cost of transportation they paid during the process of transporting goods. They will be forced to put that cost on the commodities and ordinary [citizens] will be the ones paying for the cost," Adil told "South Sudan in Focus."

Hajir al-Sir al-Awad, a third-year business administration student at the International University of Africa in Khartoum, said that lifting fuel subsidies at a time when the country faces serious economic challenges is a bad decision.

"Whenever there is an increase on the fuel, the public transport fees will be increased as well. Not only this, but I expect everything to increase. The decision will definitely affect me as a student and my family. They will be forced to look for other sources of income to allow me go to college," he said.

The government will continue to subsidize cooking gas or furnace oil, and wheat this year, although there are frequent shortages of those commodities.

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