Five events happened last week made me enjoy a delightful sense of astonishment:
1. Before telling the first event I feel obliged to repent the wisdom of Einstein when he said “Insanity is repeatedly the same mistakes and expecting different results.” The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ordered all international airliners to sell tickets in Sudanese pounds at the official rate of SDG47.5 to a dollar (now the free rate is SDG78). Most of the airline companies threatened to cease activities in Sudan. The Prime Minister of Sudan and Ministry of Finance brokered a deal to resolve the crisis by selling tickets in SDGs at 47.5 rate and a pledge from the Central Bank of Sudan to ask all commercial banks to transfer the airlines revenues at SDG47.5 from the export proceeds. First of all this was tried before and did not work and some airlines sold tickets in dollar before being stopped last week. Failed because the local banks could not fulfill the needs of those airlines. Now the situation is worse, The P.M. announced last week that the deficit in balance of trade is US$60 billion. That means the gap between export and imports is widening and the export money is desperately needed by the government to import fuel, wheat, sugar and medicine. Private sector looks for export proceeds to import inputs of industry, agriculture. Traders also look for a share of these limited resources of foreign money. So, it is clear that the airline companies cannot get any share and the crises will very soon recur.
2. The PM pledged last week to continue the war on the hidden economy of dollar dealings outside the banking system. He said in a visit to the mining ministry that gold exports should bridge the deficit gap. In the same event the minister of mining said that in 2018 Sudan produced 93.8 tons of gold. The government controlled only 22 tons i.e. 23% where did the 77% go? Nobody knows. Before that once of the frozen government Gum Arabic Company top official said 65% of the production is smuggled.
3. The minister of oil and gas addressed the parliament last week giving a gloomy picture about the position of supply of oil and gas saying there is a daily deficit of 800 metric tons of gasoline, 4300 tons of diesel, and 50% of LPG demand. He said local production of gasoline is 3200 tons consumption 4000 tons, diesel production 4500 and consumption 8800 ton/day. He added that his staff in the supply department is anxious and worried about the current alarming strategy reserve for two days only.
4. The Attorney General formed a committee to investigate on the said incident of death of a teacher in Khasm Al-Girba under torture followed by a courageous step by the Director of the NISS to form a high level investigation committee on the same issue. In the statement of the formation of the committee the NISS pointed that the deceased was subjected to brutal injuries and pledge to hold the perpetrators responsible and subject them to immediate trial. The NISS committee is now in the scene of the crime. The Attorney General committee in a press conference Thursday February 7, announced that the teacher’s death was due to excessive beating in sensitive areas of the body.
5. In a genuine step of resolving the current crisis, the President held an open discussion with top journalists in his residence on Thursday, February 7. He addressed the gathering by admitting that the youth revolted due to genuine and acceptable reasons – hardship in living, unemployment and deprivation of political and social freedom. He attacked the Public Order Law and application. He denounced the violation of the police to the privacy of families at homes, adding that according to proper Sharia every person is free to do anything behind his closed doors. He pledged to call the concerned people in police, judiciary and attorney for a meeting to regulate the application of Public Order Law on the basis of respecting the Islamic principles as privacy and the global Human Right declaration.
So, the above mentioned five events will be landmarks in the current popular upheaval.
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