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Sudan says to keep key subsidies in 2015, not raise taxes

 Sudan will keep in place subsidies on wheat and petrol and not raise taxes in 2015, the finance minister said on Monday as he presented next year`s budget to parliament.



Khartoum: Sudan will keep in place subsidies on wheat and petrol and not raise taxes in 2015, the finance minister said on Monday as he presented next year`s budget to parliament.

"No new taxes will be introduced in the 2015 budget which also aims at continuing to subsidise wheat and petrol products," Badereldien Mahmoud said.

In September 2013 the government slashed fuel subsidies, sparking huge street protests -- the worst urban unrest in Sudan in two decades -- as retail prices shot up by more than 60 percent.

Amnesty International said that more than 200 demonstrators were killed when security forces crushed the protests, but the government gave a toll of fewer than 100.

President Omar al-Bashir earlier this year called for a political and economic renaissance in the country, which is ravaged by war, poverty and political turmoil.

The International Monetary Fund sees a "favourable" outlook for Sudan in 2015, driven by a "very good harvest" and the decline in oil prices on world markets. 

In his speech to parliament, which meets later this month to vote on the budget, the finance minister said he foresaw revenues of 61.4 billion pounds and expenses of about 59.8 billion pounds.

The official rate of the Sudanese pound is 5.9 to the dollar, but it trades for 8.8 against the dollar on the black market.

Mahmoud also forecast 6.3 percent growth for next year and said inflation is expected to hover at around 25.9 percent.

Sudanese have struggled to cope with soaring prices and a weak currency since South Sudan separated in July 2011, taking with it around 75 percent of the formerly united Sudan`s oil production.

From Zee News

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