Sudan’s finance ministry to take control of all state firms

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Central Bank of Sudan

Sudan’s finance ministry said on Sunday it would take control of all state firms, including ones owned by the security forces, as it works to straighten out the country’s economy and open it up to foreign financing.

The measure is part of a 12-month reform package worked out with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that also aims to reduce fuel subsidies, stabilise the currency and open gold trading to the private sector.

Tackling the security sector’s extensive economic power is seen as one of the toughest challenges of a 39-month transition following a coup last year that ended three decades of rule by Omar al-Bashir.

The military and civilian groups are now running the country in a fragile power sharing arrangement.

“The Transitional Government will prepare and publish an inventory of all state-owned enterprises, including those overseen by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, other ministries, as well as the security sector,” the ministry said a statement on Sunday.

The government would issue decrees within six months ensuring “ownership, complete oversight and transparency over all state-owned enterprises,” to avoid political interference and conflicts of interest in the management and oversight of the companies, the statement added.

A Sudanese committee chaired by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok approved a plan 10 days ago to liquidate many of the country’s 650 state-owned companies and privatise others.

Inflation in Sudan is running at over 110%, the economy is expected to contract by 8% this year after contracting by 2.5% in 2019, and the ratio of debt to gross domestic produce is at 190%, one of the highest in the world, the statement said.

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