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Sudan to expand gold exports to cover imports of basic goods

January 25, 2022 at 12:02 pm

A gold mine in the Sudanese desert on 3 October 2011 [ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP/Getty Images]

Sudan will expand its use of gold exports to cover imports of essential goods as it embarks on a new 2022 budget without foreign aid during an economic downturn after a coup, Reuters reported.

Billions of dollars of much-needed foreign assistance were cut after the 25 October military coup that ended a power-sharing arrangement with civilians in a transition process established following the 2019 overthrow of former ruler Omar Al-Bashir.

Reuters said a statement issued by the finance ministry late on Sunday included new directives calling for 70 per cent of gold export proceeds to be used on “strategic goods,” which typically include fuel and wheat, and the remainder on “necessary goods”.

Other directives aim to reduce the time and fees involved in the gold export process.

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Sudan, one of Africa’s main gold producers, officially exported 26.4 tonnes in the first nine months of 2021 and 25.2 tonnes throughout 2020, Central Bank data shows.

But officials estimate four times more is smuggled abroad.

The budget passed last week aims to increase both expenditure and non-aid revenues by more than a third and envisages a deficit of 363 billion Sudanese pounds ($826.88 million), state news agency SUNA said.

Civilian parties have accused military leaders of erasing economic gains and plunging the country further into crisis.

Aid had totalled $839 million in 2021, SUNA said