The Sentry: Sudan’s economic reforms risk receiving “little to no attention”

The report stated that without much work being done to eliminate al-Bashir's legacy of economic woes, the current government risks losing popular support and may invite protests similar to those that deposed al-Bashir

In addition to Sudan’s economic reforms, the recent briefing by The Sentry warned that the Sudan’s parastatals are rife with internal governance irregularities, and lack fiscal transparency and accountability for the public funds in their custody.

Khartoum: Altaghyeer

The Sentry’s latest briefing, penned by Suliman Baldo, is concerned that Sudan’s economic reforms risk receiving little-to-no attention.

In the previous months, the Sudanese government had undertaken several reforms consistent with the IMF’s year-long economic reforms.

The US Sudan Democratic Transition, Accountability, and Fiscal Transparency Act of 2020 was put in place to exert external pressure on Sudan in applying these reforms.

The author expressed worries concerning Sudan’s implementation of one conditional reform.

One Condition

Much of the promises made by the international community and foreign donors are contingent upon Sudan regaining control of its state-owned-enterprises (SOE) and their funds.

The Ministry of Finance has made major strides, according to the report, by publishing a preliminary list of SOE entities currently operating in Sudan.

The aforementioned SOEs are responsible, according to Sudanese Prime Minister Hamdok—as quoted by Baldo, for the Sudanese government controlling only “18% of the resources generated by government agencies and their economic activities”.

The Ministry of Finance’s list offers a number of “corporations controlled by the Ministries of Defense and Interior, as well as those operated by technical and income-generating ministries such as the ministries of Energy, Mining, Industry, Investments, and Agriculture.”

The briefing highlighted the SOE’s role in al-Bashir’s deposed regime; designed as cornerstone in a kleptocracy made for the benefit of the regime and political Islamist movements at the expense of the country’s economy.

Parastatals and the Security Sector

Absent from the preliminary list are companies that belong to Sudan’s General Intelligence Service (GIS).

In defense of this absence, the director of GIS revealed that their returns would not affect public income so much.

Suliman Baldo

The previous finance minister Ibrahim al-Badawi declared in 2020 that his ministry had reached an agreement with the Ministries of Defense and Mining and the GIS to transfer GIS companies to the Finance Ministry, starting with Al-Sabika al-Zahabia.

The Sentry however, declared that insider industry sources said that the company was still under GIS control.

It also noted that parastatals that are linked with the RSF are also prominently absent from the list, despite Lt. Gen. Abdul-Rahim Dagalo and Maj. Algony Dagalo (Vice President of the Transitional Sovereignty Council Hemedti’s brothers) having incorporated several private companies in Sudan and the UAE.

“Several of their companies are known to have carried out projects for the RSF, according to international investigative reporting”.

Concerns about much of Sudan’s lack of urgency in bringing parastatals controlled by technical ministries to the Ministry of Finance’s control loom large.

Suliman Baldo concludes his report by offering a list of recommendations pertaining to what happens next in regards to Sudan achieving control over its SOEs.

One recommendation suggests subjecting “all SOEs to random and periodic audits by the National Audit Chamber or another auditor appointed by the civilian government.”

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