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Sudan Freezes Decision to Lift Fuel Subsidies Until March 2020

Mohammed Alamin

(Bloomberg) -- Sudan’s transitional government will delay the gradual removal of fuel subsidies until at least the end of March, a spokesman said, as the North African country grapples with how to mend its ravaged economy.

The step will be delayed until authorities hold an economic conference in March to discuss the 2020 budget, Information Minister Faisal Mohamed Salih told reporters Saturday in Khartoum after a meeting between the cabinet and the Forces for Freedom and Change, an activist coalition.

The suspension of the plan is to “enable more discussions with our people,” Salih said. The lifting of the vital subsidy had become a contentious issue for many in Sudan’s fledgling democracy.

Sudan, whose long-time leader Omar al-Bashir was ousted by the military in April after mass protests, is being led by a transitional power-sharing government of both civilians and army officials. The administration, which includes ex-World Bank and United Nations officials, has the task of trying to right an economy that saw years of mismanagement under Bashir and was hit by U.S. sanctions.

Salih’s announcement on fuel subsidies rolls back one made by Finance Minister Ibrahim ElBadawi on Friday. Elbadawi also decreed a 100% wage increase and new subsidies for health and education.

--With assistance from Nadeem Hamid.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mohammed Alamin in Khartoum at malamin1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Polina Noskova at pnoskova@bloomberg.net, Belinda Cao

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