Sudanese have expressed their wrath over the increasing hike in the prices of bread, following protests across the country on Sunday, in which one student died.
Bread prices doubled following the government’s announcement late last month that it was eliminating subsidies in its 2018 budget.
“People who buy bread daily at SDG 10 (1.5 US dollars) have to buy it for SDG 20 or SDG 30. There are some cannot buy bread now. They can increase anything but with bread there should be red line,” said Imad Taha, a Khartoum resident.
“It is unacceptable to increase the price of bread by more than 200 percent and also reducing the weight of a loaf of bread. Families cannot afford this,” said Abdul Ahmed, another customer at a bread shop.
The removal of subsidies is part of austerity measures as the country struggles in the face of inflation running at about 25 percent and an acute shortage of hard currency that has sapped import activity.
Austerity measures in Sudan have sparked sporadic public protests in the past few years.
Amnesty International says that up to 185 people may have been killed in 2013 when thousands took to the streets in demonstrations against fuel price increases.
Protests have since been much smaller and the main opposition parties have called for peaceful demonstrations against the bread price rises.
Authorities also blocked the sale of six daily newspapers carrying critical coverage of the subsidy cut and price rises, editors of the papers told Reuters.
Sudan has begun a series of economic reforms in line with International Monetary Fund recommendations to try to bolster the economy, months after a U.S. decision to lift sanctions raised hopes that badly needed investment may return.
“It is very difficult for the economy for these reforms to succeed in the current circumstances, unless other methods are adopted to increase production and encourage exports to upgrade revenues. The urgent solution is to attract serious investors to utilize the potential of Sudan especially oil and minerals because of its rapid output it can help boost revenue and return the balance to our national currency,” said economic analyst, Sanhouri Eisa.
This month Sudan devalued its pound currency to 18 per U.S. dollar, more than double its previous peg of 6.7 pounds to the dollar.
The rate on the black market hit about 29 pounds to the dollar last week.