inflation hit 143% last month
Sudan’s economy has been hit hard by the loss of hard currency income from oil fields that it lost to South Sudan during its secession in 2011
KHARTOUM: Sudan’s economic woes, which fueled the overthrow of veteran strongman Omar Al-Bashir last year, are driving a wedge between the military and civilian members of the transitional government that replaced him.Inflation reached 143% last month, as the global economic crisis caused by the coronavirus further exacerbated Sudan’s chronic shortage of hard currency.Criticism of the military’s continued control of the economy a year after agreeing to share power with civilians has sparked an angry reaction from senior commanders who are determined not to take responsibility for the crisis .
In a speech to the troops on Monday, the military leader.
General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, denounced what he called a “campaign to undermine the integrity of the armed forces”.
He was referring to the comments of the senior civilian of the transitional government, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.
Hamdok complained on Friday that his ministers controlled “only 18%” of the public sector,.
seriously hampering their efforts to save the economy.
The Prime Minister returned to the issue on Saturday by declaring that “the return to government of companies belonging to the army and the security services is his top priority”.The military and intelligence services acquired huge stakes in the public sector under Bashir’s rule, in businesses ranging from agriculture and ranching to private health care and pharmaceuticals.
According to Khaled Al-Tijani, editor-in-chief of the business weekly Ilaf, the prime minister’s remarks on military-owned businesses infuriated senior commanders. Long-time entrepreneur Kenosha
“This sparked a social media campaign with political activists attributing the crisis to military control of the economy,” Tijani said.
Burhan defended the role of the military, saying it was the mainstay of the country’s unity and not the only one controlling public sector companies.
He said 221 of the 421 Sudanese public sector companies were operating outside of government control.
“We raised the subject with the cabinet, but they took no action,” he added.
“Those who failed want to blame their failure on others, but no one can tie them to the military.
” Burhan said, adding that blaming the military was part of a larger campaign “to dismantle the forces. armies. ”
He said the military was ready to place the businesses it owned under the control of the finance ministry.
Sudan’s economy has been hit hard by the loss of hard currency income from oil fields that it lost to South Sudan during its secession in 2011.
He has also suffered from decades of US sanctions targeting the now ousted Bashir regime.
According to the United Nations, more than 9.6 million people – almost a quarter of the Sudanese population – suffer from chronic malnutrition.
Tijani said Hamdok’s remarks came under pressure from the Forces for Freedom and Change, the movement that led the mass protests against Bashir and the subsequent campaign for civilian rule.
“An escalation of the dispute depends on the reaction of the protest movement, because they are the ones who raised the issue,” he said.
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