Sudan information minister told the media on December 28 that the lifting of fuel subsidies will be postponed. The subsidies were initially the part of Sudan’s 2020 budget. A day before on Friday, Finance minister Ibrahim Elbadawi told the media that the fuel subsidies will be gradually removed.
The decision was changed after the government met with the former opposition on Saturday and agreed to not implement the decision until a conference in March where economic reforms will be discussed told information minister Faisal Saleh. Saleh said the economic policies of the country, including policies regarding commodity subsidies, will be determined in the March conference.
On the other hand, Ibrahim Elbadawi had said on Friday the transitional government plans to remove fuel subsidies gradually in 2020. The Finance Minister also said public sector salaries would be doubled to ease the impact of galloping inflation. The announcement came after Hamdok, Elbadawi and other ministers met with FFC representatives.
In November, Elbadawi, a former World Bank economist told the media that public salaries would need to be increased and a social support network established to prepare for the painful removal of fuel and food subsidies. Sudan would need up to $5 billion in budget support to avert economic collapse and launch reforms, he added. Likewise, Hamdok, an economist told that cash transfers were one scenario discussed to offset a cut in food and other subsidies.
As Sudan suffers from the economic crisis and high inflation for years, the removal of fuel subsidies is sensitive, cite experts to the media. The country was wrecked by three decades of mismanagement under the rule of Bashir, who the military ousted in April after months of street protests. The situation has been complicated as the United States list of state sponsors of terrorism included the country. This has blocked Sudan from tapping the International Monetary Fund and World Bank for support. Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok formed Sudan’s transitional cabinet of technocrats in September after a power-sharing deal was reached between the Transitional Military Council that took over after Bashir’s overthrow and the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC), a coalition of former opposition and protest groups.