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Bashir to Sudan: The good times are over

It’s one thing to talk about austerity measures in places like Ireland and Greece where people have been living well off booming markets and generous welfare states, but in a country that falls between Malawi and Afghanistan in its level of development, one wonders how much more austere life can get:  Sudanese President Omar Hassan ...

SALAH OMAR/AFP/Getty Images
SALAH OMAR/AFP/Getty Images

It’s one thing to talk about austerity measures in places like Ireland and Greece where people have been living well off booming markets and generous welfare states, but in a country that falls between Malawi and Afghanistan in its level of development, one wonders how much more austere life can get

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said on Tuesday the north will launch austerity measures to compensate for the loss of oil revenues after the south’s secession and bring in a new currency.

North Sudan lost 75 percent of its 500,000 barrel-a-day oil production after the south became independent on Saturday. Oil is vital to both economies.

North Sudan, where 80 percent of 40 million Sudanese, has been hit by a scarcity of foreign currency and high inflation. Khartoum has tried to lower dependency on oil but economists say the pace of diversification has been slow.

“We have placed an emergency programme for the next three years,” Bashir told parliament, adding that an “austerity measures package” had been started and a revised budget with no new taxes or duties would be presented to the assembly.

The Sudanese people could certainly be forgiven for wondering where all that wealth was when Khartoum did control all the oil. Statistically, at least, Sudan is likely to get quite a bit richer without the comparatively impoverished south. 

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