24-February-2024

Weekly Press Columns Digest

Weekly Press Columns Digest

KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - Three issues that won wide commentary from the press last week were:

The call for toppling the transitional government after its recent harsh economic measures that, for instance, raised fuel prices by 100 percent. This call is spearheaded by the Communist Party.

The second issue was the bickering between finance Minister Jibreel Ibrahim and lawyer Wajdi Salih, spokesperson of the high-level commission charged to trace and retrieve money and properties stolen by the operatives of Omar Albashir’s regime. The dispute has started when the Finance Minister said he did not receive any of the retrieved money.

The third issue was the address by Prime Minister Dr. Abdalla Hamdok in which he justified the austere economic measures which he said were in the interest of the future of the country’s economy and in which he predicted an economic breakthrough when Sudan is declared qualified to get debt relief towards the end of June.

About the call for toppling the government, wrote Dr. Abdellatif Alboony in the newspaper Alsudani (The Sudanese):

Our country is in transition. That means it has got out of a regime and is on its way into a new system of government. The simplest thing to do is for the people to wait until the end of this road (the transition). It had never occurred in our history that the people had risen against a transitional government in a bid to bring it down, for the simple reason that such a government is, by definition, temporary.

But to be frank, the mistake rests with those who burdened the transitional period with this heavy load. In fact they gave it portfolios which are not part of the duties of transitional governments. Accordingly, it could have been wise to revise the objectives of the transitional period and give the government the load that suits this weak back of hers.

But, before doing this we have to work the country out of the economic crisis caused by the shock created by the hike in fuel prices effected last week that brought the economic life to a standstill.

Gasoline is production’s driving force in agriculture, the industry and transport. This huge increase in gasoline prices means all the above mentioned sectors will come to a halt. This requires a quick treatment for the production wheels to move on, now that the country is about to get into a promising rainy season as predict weather forecasts.

The call for the government to be brought down (which some people are working on and mobilizing for) does not carry any solution for the economic crisis. For nobody can imagine the shape and features of the anticipated government after the downfall of this government. Will this new government be able to fill all the gas stations with gasoline for the production wheels to be able to roll on? No.. the most to predict is that the country would go into a political vacuum whose end will not be known, save by God.

My friends…the solution is not to bring the government down. The solution is to devise an emergency solution for the gasoline problem, by making it available, in suitable prices. Then we can see all the domino stones of the crisis fall down.

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About the debate between the Finance Ministry and the commission assigned to retrieve money and properties usurped by operatives of the Bashir regime over the sums and properties so far restored, wrote Mr. Haidar Almikashfi in the daily journal Aljareeda (the Newspaper):

The problem at issue in this absurd discussion is not an intellectual or philosophical matter that can accept arguments and counter arguments. It concerns money and properties the authorized commission says it handed to the Ministry of Finance, while the latter denies it had received a single dollar from the commission.

The commission, whenever asked why the assets it seized are not exploited in easing the brunt of the economic crisis, had used to relegate the question to the Finance Ministry, which gives no answer and returns the ball to the commission. This was the situation and the public was in wonder what had happened to these sums and properties.

Finance Minister Jibreel Ibrahim had reiterated what his predecessor Dr. Hiba Mohammad Ali had said when she denied her Ministry receiving any money from the commission.

Jibreel has challenged the commission to show a document that the Finance Ministry had received a sum of $6 million (cash down) the commission had said it restored from the river transport department. Yet the commission has said the money it restored exceeds the $6 million figure and was put in the custody of the Finance Ministry. The commission spokesman, Wajdi Salih, had also said the sums retrieved by his commission were the driving force of the economy. He had also said the sums retrieved from the institutions of the dissolved National Congress Party were huge and unimaginable for the Sudanese citizen and that if the Finance Ministry employs them well, they can help build the country’s economy.

(In the latest developments of the issue, the dispute was settled Thursday when the Prime Minister brought the two men together and made Jibreel to understand that the retrieved assets were in the custody of a 100-man holding company which is part of the works of the Prime Minister’s office).  

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On PM Hamdok’s address Wednesday in which he explained to the nation the reasons behind the hike of fuel prices and his plan for the transitional period, wrote Mr. Haytham Alfadl in the Aldemgrati (the Democrat) daily newspaper:

Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok had, during two years of good governance, demonstrated a high ability to create what he (Hamdok) has called “a balance” that leads to relative agreement between the active forces in the political movement in the post-revolution Sudan. These forces are too many, but the most important of which are the Army, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the Professionals Alliance, the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) with its varying components and then the political parties with their shortsightedness towards public interest and their squabbling for government posts. In addition, there are the professional groupings, the trade unions and the shadowy representatives of the elements of the deep state and their interest groups in the public and private sectors. We should not also forget the regional groupings and alliances, the conflicting international western interests in the change that occurred in the post-revolution Sudan.

All of this was within Abdalla Hamdok’s balance to the degree that, under the harshest of conditions, he prefers not seek victory for himself in place for victory for the public interest.

The least to be said about this man is his amazing ability to manage all these different and competing interests that seek to foil his ideas and national projects and his ability to direct all of this towards the building of the country’s bridges out towards safety.

The man in his last address, has put it forth that there is no way for funding development projects, correcting the deformities of the Sudanese economy except through the international community and the funds he could get from this community’s organizations to create a balance between the domestic expenses and the external trade balance and at the same time work for curbing inflation. The return to the international funding system had required a lot of legal, financial, organizational and planning measures in the fiscal policy, the most important of which was the lifting of subsidies, the bitter medicine a sick person has to take in order to recover.

By those well planned steps in his address about his government’s plan to get the country out of the bottle neck, it became my conviction that we are going to win and cross to the other side of the river. That can be attained if the people resort to patience and vigil and if the malicious hands stop trying to undermine the successes being made and which nobody can deny, save those who have interests which contravene the interests of Sudan and its victorious people.

END

YH/AS

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