Sudan nearly doubles fuel, gas prices in crisis

Sudan nearly doubles fuel, gas prices in crisis

KHARTOUM - Reuters
Sudan almost doubled prices for fuel and cooking gas yesterday, struggling to bring its budget under control in an economic crisis that is stirring widespread discontent.

President Omar Hassan al-Bashir went on television for two hours to announce the plan. He has avoided an “Arab spring” uprising of the sort that has unseated other rulers in the region but many in Sudan complain about soaring food prices, corruption, violent conflicts and high unemployment.

“We’ve been just notified of the price increases,” said a petrol station worker, asking not to be named “It’s huge leap and we worry that people will be angry.”

The Arab African country lost three-quarters of its oil reserves - its main source of revenues and of dollars for food imports - when South Sudan became independent in 2011.

Oil stations raise prices

Petrol stations in the capital Khartoum raised the price of a gallon (3.8 liters) of petrol yesterday to 21 pounds (almost $3 based on black market prices), from 12 pounds.

“The government ... has no idea of what people are going through. I am ready to join any protest against the increqase,” said 41-year old Ahmed Iassan, an unemployed worker.

The government started reducing some fuel subsidies in July 2012. Several weeks of small protests ended with a security crackdown. It had hoped to sustain the remaining support by boosting gold exports to replace oil revenues, but was thwarted by the recent fall in global gold prices.
A gallon of gasoline now costs 14 pounds, up from 8.5 pounds.