President Omar al-Bashir chairs meeting
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir lauded the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Sudan for successfully tackling economic concerns at a cabinet meeting Thursday.
Minister of Finance and National Economy, Ali Mahmoud, presented a report detailing solid economic performance in the first quarter, forecasting Gross National Product (GNP) growth at 3.6 percent, up from 1.36 percent last year.
In a statement following the meeting, cabinet spokesman Dr Omer Muhammad Saleh confirmed that the Sudanese pound had remained stable against the dollar in the first quarter, trading at 4.42 pounds per dollar even as the inflation rate rose to 46 percent.
Capital flows rose sharply, from 892 million pounds in the last two quarters of 2012 to 1.7 trillion pounds. Tax revenues increased by 16 percent, validating recently implemented tax reform policies.
Sudan’s strategic expenditures stood at 116 percent of the first quarter budget in 2012, while development expenses had increased from 362 million to 433 million pounds.
Spending has been directed towards increasing agricultural production, modernising railways and improving national road infrastructure. The Bashir government has also invested in the Alshahid Sapera airport in Darfur, and erected electrical lines in Ethiopia with a view to integrating national networks.
The closing off of South Sudan’s 350,000 barrel-per-day oil output in January 2012 posed a severe challenge to the Sudanese economy, as both countries rely on foreign currency from oil sales to import food and fuel.
The Bashir government was forced to impose unprecedented austerity and rationalisation policies.
The shut down followed a row over the cost of transporting oil from South Sudan through Sudanese pipelines to the Red Sea, which was compounded by border disputes that have persisted since South Sudan seceded from Sudan in July 2011.
The two countries recently reached an agreement to restart exports at African Union-brokered talks in Addis Ababa.
Sudanese Minister of Finance Abdulrahman Darrar told Arabstoday that executing the deal with South Sudan would "decrease economic pressure and reap positive benefits for both countries’ economies."