Weekly Press Columns Digest

Weekly Press Columns Digest

By: Staff writer


KHARTOUM (Sudanow) -  The week’s press columns have dwelt at large on the hot issues of the US warning to its citizens not to travel  to Sudan, the fishy issue of when some officials in the State House tried secretively to buy expensive limousines for the sovereignty council members and the beleaguered budget.  

Wrote columnist Haydar Almikashfi in the daily newspaper Aljareeda on the US warning to its citizens about travel  to Sudan and the US indecision about erasing Sudan’s name from its dating terror list:

Without any prior notice the US State Department aired a warning to all Americans not to travel to the Sudan. The State Department attributed this warning to what it called a state of insecurity, kidnappings, armed robberies, the storming of houses, the armed seizure of vehicles and the continued existence of terror groups in the Sudan. The State Department advised US officials obliged to head towards the Sudan to use armored vehicles to dispense their official duties while in the country.

This is a strange warning and reveals “the usual American indecision”. This warning comes  less than 48 hours from the phone contact between the US Secretary of the State and Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok when the US official announced Washington’s support to Sudan’s civilian-led transitional government and to the Sudanese Government’s effort to build lasting peace in the country. He also expressed his optimism about progress in removing Sudan’s name from the US terror list.

Before this phone call from one of the most ranking US officials several statements were made by senior US officials all of which reaffirmed US support to Sudan’s interim period  and its government and announced that the removal of Sudan from the said terror list was now a matter of time.

But unfortunately none of those written or verbal statements had materialized .

Anyhow, and as long as we cannot influence the US policy, we urge our government to “turn the American page”.

If the US supports, removes and backs the government, that would be good. The government must not cross its hands and wait for the Americans to deliver on or back from their promises. It is their own business!.

The usually very frank writer Altahir Satti wrote a critical comment in the daily newspaper Alsayha on the recent press report that the head of state the sovereignty council, had sought to buy a number of expensive limousines, despite the dire economic situation of the country:

Many thanks to our fellow newspaper Alyawm Altali that revealed the sovereign council was about to purchase the worth of  SDG 482 billion of limousines.  The council’s general secretariat has chosen the firm ‘Best Investment’ to purchase the 35 vehicles without any public tender. This is against the law of purchases and contracts. The justification given by  the council’s secretary was ‘exotic and flawed’ when he daringly said they did not call tenders because the newspapers were not working due to the lockdown because of the corona pandemic!!

First, does the situation in the country in which there is shortage of food, medicine and fuel, permit the purchase of motorbikes, let alone these deluxe cars?

Second: why the hurry? The council could have waited for the newspapers to go on print to call for the tender. Or is it because “the sirs” in the sovereign council and their honorable guests are standing on the road pavements, under the rain water or under the blazing sun and did not find something to carry them to their homes or their hotels or the State House?

Third: the newspapers are not the only means to make the tender public. There are two government radio stations and one government satellite TV station. The public sector owns a lot of TV and radio stations even more than the cars to be purchased in this secretive manner the public had revolted against in December 2019 and brought this government into office. Why didn’t the general secretary tap the other media outlets…. No answer .

Accordingly, this is a bad excuse the council general secretary should apologize for. He should make an atonement for by quitting this sensitive position via a resignation that observes the values, objectives and causes of the revolution and its martyrs.

Yes! It is a revolution against corruption. What the council’s general secretary had dared to do is a sort of corruption.

There is no doubt that the sovereign council’s decision to cancel the deal is worthy of thanks. But this is not enough, because hadn’t  the newspaper revealed this deal it could have been completed in secret.

The news about the deal cancelation would be more pleasing if the council secretary Mr. Alghali would attach his own resignation to it, or else he should be fired.

Writer Sumayya Alsayyid, of concern with economic affairs, has written a critical review of the country’s budget, recently endorsed by a joint meeting of the sovereign council and the council of ministers:

Information leaking about the amended budget signals a tendency to gradually liberalize the exchange rate of the national currency, the pound. The budget has raised the pound’s exchange rate to 120 from 55,  a dollar. It is a disparate attempt to  cope with the black market.

Despite the subsidy of %37 for wheat, the amended budget has cut the overall subsidy of strategic commodities from SDG 252 billion to SDG 113 billion. The fuel prices subsidy was reduced from SDG 200 Billion to  SDG 49 Billion. Electricity subsidy was reduced from SDG 17 billion to SDG 10 billion.

The amended budget expects a drop of 42 % in government general revenue i.e. from 568.3 to 396.1 billion pounds. This was an expected development not only due to the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic as the government claims, but because the budget was based on unreal resources, foremost reliance of foreign aid by 50 percent.

Now, and after the elapse of the first half of the fiscal year it became clear that there is reliance on uncertain foreign aid.

According to the Finance Ministry’s report for the first quarter of the fiscal year, the foreign aid performance was very humble, a meager one percent of the expectations.

The amended budget forecasts a foreign aid of 8.2 percent from the national gross product, to be geared towards family support and capacity building programs.

The government has borrowed 108 billion pounds from the Central Bank in the first quarter of the fiscal year, at a rate of 333 percent, instead of the projected 61 billion pounds in the original budget. This was done to redress a deficit of 73 billion pounds, up from a projected 254.3 billion pounds.

The export revenue has dropped from % 4.14 billion to $ 2.85 billion.

The government spending is expected to jump by %35.

The amended budget expects to cover the remaining deficit from the sale of assets confiscated from the defunct regime.

Thus the situation, Ms. Sumayya  expects “more inflation, more price hikes and austere living conditions for the citizens.




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