Sudan fuel price hikes aim to avert ‘collapse’

Sudan fuel price hikes aim to avert ‘collapse’

KHARTOUM - Agence France-Presse
Sudan fuel price hikes aim to avert ‘collapse’

Al-Bashir said the economy has suffered from the separation from South. AP photo

Fuel price hikes that sparked deadly protests in Sudan were designed to prevent economic meltdown, President Omar al-Bashir said Oct. 1 in his first comments on the unrest.

“The latest economic measures aim at preventing the collapse of the economy following the increase in inflation and instability in the exchange rate,” the official SUNA news agency quoted him as saying.

Al-Bashir also spoke of “conspiracies being planted by the saboteurs against our country.” On Sept.23 the government cut petrol subsidies, driving up pump prices by more than 60 percent.

 The move was part of measures designed to stabilize an economy plagued by inflation and a weakening currency since South Sudan separated in 2011, taking with it most of Sudan’s oil production. The lost oil accounted for the majority of Khartoum’s export earnings, costing the country billions of dollars. Reducing subsidies on petroleum will save billions, the government says.

Al-Bashir said the economy has suffered “negative impact” from the separation of the South and the disappearance of oil revenue. Authorities say 34 people have died since petrol and diesel prices jumped, sending thousands into the streets in the worst urban unrest during al-Bashir’s 24-year rule.