Sudan sticks to cuts despite protests

2012-06-26 10:13
AFP

AFP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • Reef Fishes and Corals
    This colourful guide contains concise information on 234 reef fish and 36 coral species found along... Now R175.00
    buy now
Khartoum - Sudan's finance minister said on Monday the government would stick to its decision to cut fuel subsidies despite more than a week of anti-austerity protests in Khartoum and other cities.

Sudanese police used teargas to disperse the latest demonstration which took place in an impoverished eastern region, where witnesses said protesters also set fire to a local office of the ruling party.

The Arab-African country avoided the wave of unrest that toppled leaders in neighbouring Libya and Egypt, but government moves to cut spending, along with austerity measures to plug a widening budget gap, have provoked a spate of demonstrations.

Scaling back fuel subsidies is one of the most unpopular measures in the package because it is expected to push up already high rates of inflation for food and other prices.

Finance Minister Ali Mahmoud said the government had no choice but to cut spending to plug a public finance gap he has previously put at $2.4bn.

"If international oil prices go up, we'll increase fuel prices. We will not retreat from the decision to lift the subsidies," he told reporters in Khartoum.

Disturbing the peace


Earlier in the day, about 200 protesters gathered in the eastern town of Gedaref, near the border with Eritrea, chanting "No, no to high prices" and "the people want to overthrow the regime", witnesses and activists said.

Protesters later set fire to a local office of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), burning part of it before fire trucks put out the blaze, witnesses said.

Mohamed Abdel Fadeel, a local government official, played down the protests, however, saying in a press statement they were carried out by a few people trying to take advantage of a graduation gathering to disturb the peace.

The demonstrators broke windows of three cars and burned seven plastic chairs outside the local NCP office before the police dispersed them, the statement said, adding the situation was now stable and "life has returned to normal".

The most widespread protests so far broke out on Friday in neighbourhoods across Khartoum, expanding beyond the core of student activists who had dominated them.

Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on Sunday played down the demonstrations as the work of a few agitators whose aims were not shared by the majority of Sudanese.

Economy hit hard

The capital has been relatively quiet since a security crackdown on Saturday, but activists have continued to try to use discontent to build a broader "Arab Spring"-style movement against Bashir's 23-year rule.

Later on Monday, more than 100 supporters of the opposition Popular Congress Party burned tyres and blocked a road after a meeting in Khartoum. They threw rocks at the police, who threw rocks back and then fired teargas, a Reuters witness said.

Late on Sunday, police used batons and teargas to break up a protest in the al-Jerief area in eastern Khartoum after demonstrators blocked a road and burned tyres, witnesses said.

Sudan's economy - already reeling from years of conflict, US trade sanctions and mismanagement - was hit hard by the secession of oil-producing South Sudan a year ago.

The new nation took about three quarters of the country's oil output, previously Sudan's main source of foreign currency, exports and state revenues.

That left Sudan with a mounting budget deficit, a weakening pound and high inflation in the prices of food and other goods, many of which are imported. Annual inflation was running at about 30% last month.

Petrol price hike


Sudan and South Sudan were supposed to work out a deal in which the landlocked South would pay Khartoum fees to export its oil via pipelines and other facilities in the north, but the two have failed to reach an agreement.

South Sudan shut down its oil output in January after Khartoum started confiscating some crude, a move that instantly erased 98% of the new nation's state revenues but also threw Sudan's economy into further uncertainty.

"We were not expecting the closure of the South's oil wells. This caused problems for us," the finance minister said.

Sudan's economy was again hit by clashes with South Sudan in April in Heglig, a border region that was producing about half of Sudan's remaining oil output, Mahmoud added. "We had no choice but to amend the budget."

The latest austerity moves pushed the price of a gallon of petrol from 8.5 Sudanese pounds - a little over $1.5 at recent black market exchange rates - to 12.5 pounds.

Read more on:    omar al bashir  |  sudan  |  south sudan  |  east africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Sport

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Today is a good day to let go of expectations and just see where the wind takes you. You are in the mood to make the most of any...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.