Sudan PM announces ‘strict austerity’ in emergency economic reforms

Sudan’s Prime Minister Moataz Moussa announced to parliament on Wednesday a 15-month emergency economic-reform plan, including “further strict austerity measures”, to begin this month.

Sudan’s economy has been struggling since the south seceded in 2011, taking with it three-quarters of oil output and depriving Khartoum of a crucial source of foreign currency.

The plan aims to “reduce the average inflation, stabilise the exchange rate of the pound, achieve a GDP growth of 4% and to fix the liquidity crises,” Moussa said.

The measures include slashing all tax exemptions except for materials needed for production, withdrawing some vehicles provided to officials, no longer paying for meals served in government meetings and banning use of imported furniture in government offices, Moussa said.

Moussa also mentioned plans to establish a commodity exchange for gold and currencies.

The economy has been starved of hard currency since South Sudan seceded in 2011, taking the lion’s share of oil, once a major export. Though gold mining has since boomed, officials acknowledge that most of the precious metal is smuggled out of the country.

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