Weekly Press Digest27 January, 2019
KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - Are the Central Bank of Sudan and its Governor aware of the hazards and impact of the new banknotes of 100, 200 and 500 Sudanese pounds to be introduced in the market in the coming days?
This question was raised by Almeghar Alsyasy daily newspaper chief editor Salah Habib on Tuesday, saying that the Governor is aware of the reasons for issuing the new banknotes but is he aware of their negative effect on the Sudanese economy?
The cash liquidity crisis, which was one of the reasons behind the nation-wide demonstrations, cannot be resolved by introducing those banknotes, Habib said, adding that the crisis would, instead aggravate the crisis, as the trust is still missing between the banks and the clients who, instead of standing in long queues to withdraw their own money, preferred to keep their money back at home or in their shops. The clients are not waiting for grants or endowments but they want to withdraw from their own funds which seem to have been robbed from the banks, he said.
The new Prime Minister and Finance Minister soon upon taking office pledged to bring the foreign currency rate of exchange down but that rate climbed up and the mistrust between the people and the banks still remains, said the columnist.
If it is not resolved in a radical way, the cash liquidity crisis will persist like the fuel shortage which cannot be overcome if the foreign currency required for purchasing the fuels is not made available, Habib said.
He warned that the new banknotes would further aggravate, instead of cutting down, the soaring rate of inflation and thereby the commodity prices.
The chief editor of Alintibaha daily newspaper, Al-Nour Ahmed Al-Nour, discussed in his daily column of Thursday the issue of unemployment amongst the university graduates who waited for long hoping to get jobs in public or private institutions to earn a legitimate living.
With all doors closed to them to the point of depression, the status of the youth reflects the present social crises and they naturally find themselves in the midst of the protests to express their disappointment and the injustice and failure of the government to address their concerns, Nour said.
He added that tens of Sudanese have drowned in the Mediterranean during the past two years while they were sailing to paradise in Europe in the mercy smuggling gangs in Libya in exchange for thousands of dollars on old, fragile boats.
The number of the Sudanese people who die either in the desert or in the sea is not known due to lack of statistics but they are estimated at hundreds each year.
Meanwhile thousands of Sudanese are in Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon awaiting legal migration by the UNHCR to Europe, America and Australia, while 300,000 reside in Chad as refugees, and about 700,000 have taken refuge in South Sudan and tens of thousands in Ethiopia.
The migration of thousands of Sudanese, whether for economic, political or security reasons is due to a state of instability in the Sudan, said the columnist, suggesting that the government authorities, instead of remaining aloof, should do something to repatriate the willing Sudanese stranded abroad.
Veteran journalist Mahjoub Urwah called in his daily column that appeared in Altayyar daily newspaper of Thursday for a national détente initiative to save the country from disintegration, chaos and infighting.
This initiative for finding a common ground for the adversaries is to be held under the motto "The Sudan Alone" instead of the motto "Just Step Down" upheld by the present demonstrators and "Just Sit Down" motto as advocated by the government supporters, Urwah said.
He added that the initiative to be conducted by the country's wise men is to close the rift between the rulers whose policy only provides for clinging to power while the adversaries who stick to continued demonstrations which, according to the columnist, seem not to stop but to grow and expand each day, taking new forms that exhaust the government and its organs physically, morally and politically, leading to a catastrophic situation of an adverse impact on the people's living.
Urwah said if the good-will prevails, the main differences can be ironed out and the minor ones can be left to competition, ending his column by saying: "Democracy is the solution."
Leading columnist Abdul Latif al-Boony, in his regular column that appeared on Al-Sudani daily newspaper of Thursday, likened a call by the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) for dialogue to resolve the present unrest to a tale during the British rule relating that a woman asked a prominent leader of a religious sect to mediate for the release of her jailed son. The religious leader raised his hands to pray for the release but the woman stopped him by asking him to pick up the telephone and call the Governor General for releasing her son and to do the prayers to God afterwards.
Boony wondered whether the NCP was planning a new dialogue in lieu of the 2014 one which, according to the columnist, is still marking time.
Calling for a dialogue initiative is not a relevant issue at the time, but as the ruling party, the NCP should take and implement clear-cut decisions for resolving the existing crisis which is a compound economic-political one or, rather, an economic crisis with political roots, the columnist said.
He advised that the NCP should first start with defusing the political crisis and state whether it insists on amendment of the constitution, on its presidential nominee in the election which whether will be similar the 2010 and 2015 elections, whether the present government will remain as it is now and whether it is going to address the widespread corruption and other economic problems.
Boony said, if it succeeds in overcoming the present unrest, the NCP should lay down policies of effective decisions and should, afterwards, call for uniting the ranks and for dialogue with the others (opponents) after providing them with the freedom of expression and assembly.
In a column he wrote in Al-Sudani daily newspaper of Saturday, Abdul Gadir Bakash, an easterner, bitterly criticized a deal signed by the authorities with a Philippine company for a concession of administration of the sole Sudanese Containers Harbor in Port Sudan for 20 years in exchange for 530 million euro.
Bakash described the deal as a grave crime as he said it was signed before deciding on the basic terms, including assessment of the present assets of the harbor, the fate of the working personnel and whether the company is going to absorb more than 1,800, the jurisdiction by the Sudan to expansion of ports and building another ports harbor, the right to supervision of the company's operation and the rate of the fees to be collected by the Philippine without consulting the Sudanese authorities.
The columnist said the contract was signed without taking into consideration the failure by the same company during four years of participation in running the same harbor as well as its failed operations of similar harbors in Nigeria, Syria and presently in Madagascar.
Bakash has called upon the trade unions, the Sudanese Workers Trade Unions Federation and the eastern MPs in the Sudanese parliament to protest what he called a strange deal.
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