A Sudanese official has exposed the extent of the country’s financial difficulties, with revelations that several of the country’s foreign diplomats have not been paid for over seven months.
The anonymous source said that some ambassadors in Asian and European states had not received their salaries for over half a year, to the extent that Sudanese Foreign Minister Dardiri Mohammed Ahmed was forced to approach the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Sudan to form a joint committee to resolve the crisis.
In addition to the salary crisis, there has also been a delay in paying rents for foreign diplomatic missions, the New Khalij reported.
Last April, outgoing Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour admitted that a number of Sudanese diplomats working abroad had wanted to return to Sudan after not being paid. He was subsequently sacked for his comments, having been the first government official to publicly admit the country’s economic woes.
“The situation has now turned dangerous, which is why I am talking about it publicly,” he said at the time.
Protests against economic austerity have been raging in Sudan since December and have resulted in the deaths of at least 40 people, with a further 500 injured in clashes. Hundreds of rallies have taken place across the country, extending to protests against the political autocracy of President Bashir with thousands calling for him to step down.
Despite the demonstrations’ peaceful nature, security forces have responded with violence. Some 1,000 people are believed to have been arrested and tortured, particularly students who have been detained en masse, with many claiming they were forced to confess to being part of a terror cell.
The latest protests were triggered by a government decision to triple bread prices from one Sudanese pound ($0.02) to three Sudanese pounds ($0.063). Food prices have soared since the start of this year after the government stopped state-funded imports of wheat.
Sudan has been facing heightened economic uncertainty in recent years with an acute shortage of foreign currency, resulting in the Sudanese pound plunging against the dollar. Despite the US lifting economic sanctions last year, international banks have continued to be wary of doing business with the country’s financial institutions.