Weekly Press Columns Digest10 March, 2019
KHARTOUM (Sudanow)—Columnist Lina Yagoub has described as catastrophic news reports released everyday by the Civil Aviation Authority, Khartoum Airport and travel agencies on international airlines suspending or reducing their flights to Khartoum.
It is sort of an isolation the international airlines are apparently imposing upon the Sudan due to the bewildering economic policies of the Sudanese government, said Lina in her regular column that was published on Al-Sudani daily newspaper of Sunday.
She said the latest air company that decided to suspend its flights between Khartoum and Aman, risking the loss of a monthly thousands of passengers, mostly patients, with substantial amounts of hard currencies they take to Jordan along with promotion of the good medical services in that country.
The columnist said the Jordanian company was followed by the Gulf airlines that cut down its flights to Khartoum from seven to five, reportedly to three flights, while the Qatari company decreased the number of its flights and, moreover, put a condition that its tickets be bought from outside the Sudan on grounds that it is difficult to transfer its proceeds abroad.
The Kenyan airways announced that its tickets are to be issued only in foreign currencies, said Lina, bringing to memory that all European airlines have long stopped flights to Sudan, with Lufthansa, the last one, suspending its flights six years ago after operation for 51 years.
She said the international air companies consider the flights to Sudan as "a failure and unprofitable."
Due to the squeezing chronic economic crisis in the Sudan, the overwhelming majority of the Sudanese people have been confronted with continued skyrocketing prices of the basic commodities with greedy merchants hurriedly hoarding profits at the expense of the poor consumers and in the absence of controlling authorities.
This remark was made by Amir Bashab in his daily column that appeared in Almeghar Alsyasy daily newspaper of Wednesday, noting that the market has become uncontrollable with no fixed prices which rise on a daily basis.
In light of this dire situation, the people contrived a new economical method to cope with their low incomes which they nicknamed "missed-call" after the mobile one-ring call a person with insufficient balance makes awaiting response from the other end.
Under this method, the consumer, for instance, purchases one-eighth a kilo of meat, a spoonful of cooking oil, one or two matchsticks, one onion or one tomato; even medical drugs are bought by a ribbon, 10 pills, or half a ribbon, 5 pills, said Bashab predicting that a patient one day will buy a pill each time in the future.
He said, in contrast to the majority of the Sudanese people, there are the well-off persons who purchase in bulk to fill the trunk of the luxury motorcar or have dinner in most expensive restaurants.
The Chief Editor of Alintibaha daily newspaper, Al-Nour Ahmed Al-Nour, devoted his column of Tuesday to criticizing government policies relevant to wheat and wheat flour for this season.
He said the Ministry of Finance has fixed 1,850 SDGs a ton as a price for the wheat to be produced this season on condition that the farmers should sell the harvest only to the government Agricultural Bank.
Nour has described this condition as unfair as the farmer must be free to sell his produce to any customer particular as the Agricultural Bank or any other government unit has not contributed to financing the cultivation of the wheat in the current season, leaving it to the farmer to secure by himself the funds for preparing the land, the seeds and the fertilizers.
This policy will discourage the farmers to grow wheat in the future, he warned.
The columnist also criticized the government decision of importing wheat flour, instead of wheat, while there are more than 20 flour mills in the country that can grind wheat and cut down the cost.
The imported flour will, of course, be free of the wheat husk that will be available if the wheat is ground locally, said Nour, adding that the husk is important as fodder for animals and chicken.
Columnist Jamal Ali Hassan considers inappropriate the concern shown by the Sudanese Islamic Scholars Association (SISA) with a fatwa (legal opinion) by the Sheikh of the Egyptian Al-Azhar University on polygamy while the Sudanese people are deeply concerned with economic and political crises.
The SISA seems unversed in arranging the priorities and instead of being engaged with the current living hardships, usury and corruption, they immediately reacted to the Al-Azhar chief's opinion on polygamy, as if the polygamy is an urgent issue in the Sudan, said Hassan in his column that appeared on Alyoum Altaly daily newspaper of Wednesday.
He wondered whether there is any Sudanese who has the financial or psychological capacity to think of having more than one wife under the current economic circumstances.
Hassan is of the viewpoint that instead of discussing the polygamy, it is important to find ways for helping the still unmarried young-men to have a single wife.
Prominent columnist Murtadha al-Ghali ridiculed measures he considered insignificant of reducing the rate of the customs dollars from 18 to 15 Sudanese pounds and the fees imposed on containers left in the port as if those measures would resolve the economic and political crises in the country, resembling this to a heart patient being served a Panadol pill for treatment.
The rate of the customs dollar is the weakest part of the declining economy in which the dollar exceeded 90 SGDs in cheques and 73 SDGs in cash in the black market while the so-called "government of qualifications" on the beginning of its formation takes such inconsequential measures instead of addressing the real causes of the decline in the country's economy, wrote Ghali in his daily column that was published in Al-Akhbar daily newspaper of Thursday.
He said the government should first start with a step of bringing the public funds under the authority of the Ministry of Finance by first putting an end to a practice by government units of keeping export proceeds at their disposal instead of handing those proceeds over to the Ministry of Finance or the Central Bank of Sudan.
The columnist wondered about the fate of the proceeds of gold and petroleum, even the credits and grants, indicating the failure of tracing 23 billion Saudi riyals which the Saudi Minister of Commerce has announced to have been offered by his government to Sudan, out of which eight billion riyals given during the past four years but not shown in the books.
Ghali said stern measures should be imposed for curbing government spending on meaningless functions and on vehicles, appropriations, carnivals, conferences and on the ruling party, including its youth, women and student unions, and on government delegations for participation in insignificant events.
The government's justification of imposing the state of emergency that it aims at fighting corruption rather than targeting the protestors and demonstrators is admission by the government that the corruption in the country has gone beyond a normal to a disastrous level, columnist Al-Tahir Satti said.
Writing in his daily column that appeared in al-Sudani daily newspaper of Saturday, Satti noted that all government officials at all levels claim to be fighting corruption without naming those who have stolen the fuel, who have smuggled the gold or who have concealed the export proceeds and who have fed the 'fat cats' (reference to hoarders of ill-gotten wealth).
He believes that the corrupts or fat cats are being assisted by government officials and that both groups should be taken to courts of justice, remarking that, other than a few small businessmen and merchants, not a single fat cat or an official has been charged of corruption or corruption-related act since admission by the government of the existence of corruption or since the declaration of the state of emergency.
Columnist Osama Abdul Majid has criticized as provocative a video that appeared on social media and satellite channel showing a group of armed security forces driving around a square in Khartoum's Burre neighborhood on Friday with a person defiantly calling upon the residents to come out in demonstration if they are brave enough.
The video could not be fabricated because it reflected the same vehicles used by the government forces to disperse the demonstrations and it could not be justified that man on the loudspeaker was not a serviceman so long as he was among the individuals of the force, said Abdul Majid in the column that was published by Akhir Lahza daily newspaper of Saturday.
He said an urgent investigation should be made not only with the person who insulted and defied the Burre inhabitants but also with the officer who ordered the military vehicles to move in a provocative way around the square where no demonstrations were being staged at that time.
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