The Sudanese Finance Minister said on Friday that Sudan’s transitional government plans to phase out fuel subsidies in 2020 and double public sector wages to reduce the impact of growing inflation.
With the help of donors, the new civilian government is trying to launch a series of economic and political reforms after the ouster of Omar al-Bashir in April.
Sudan has been in crisis since it lost two-thirds of its oil production with the secession of South Sudan in 2011.
Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Badawi did not say how the next year’s budget would be funded, nor did the government forecast revenue and spending.
But he told reporters that gasoline subsidies will be phased out next year while wheat and cooking gas subsidies will continue to help the poor. Support is a major burden on government finances.
In order to reduce the impact of inflation and poverty, the government wants to double the wages of public jobs and raise the minimum to 1,000 Sudanese pounds ($ 22) from 425 pounds, al-Badawi said.
In October, the official inflation rate was 58 percent, but evidence indicates that prices are increasing at much faster rates.
It was the shortage of bread, fuel, and medicine, as well as sharp price increases, that fueled the protests that led to the ouster of Bashir after nearly 30 years in power.
The economy has remained turbulent ever since, with politicians negotiating a power-sharing deal between the military and civilians.
The government was appointed in September and will assume a three-year term under the power-sharing agreement.
It is negotiating with the United States to remove Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
This classification is due to allegations that emerged in 1993 that the Bashir-oriented Islamist movement supports terrorism, and it creates technical barriers to debt forgiveness and funding from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank – which also threatens economic growth. Removing Sudan from the list requires the approval of the US Congress.
Al-Badawi did not say what Sudan expected in terms of donor support. He had told Reuters in November that his country needed up to $ 5 billion for 2020.
He said that the 2020 budget will increase spending on education and social spending, and will include assistance to needy families and the allocation of an additional 9.3 billion pounds to states affected by hostilities or rebellion.
Information Minister Faisal Saleh said the budget would be finalized in two days during a meeting between the transitional government and the military and civilian sovereignty council.