KHARTOUM, Sept 23 Sudan almost doubled prices
for fuel and cooking gas on Monday, struggling to bring its
budget under control in an economic crisis that is stirring
President Omar Hassan al-Bashir went on television for two
hours to announce the plan. He has avoided an "Arab spring"
uprising of the sort that has unseated other rulers in the
region but many in Sudan complain about soaring food prices,
corruption, violent conflicts and high unemployment.
"We've been just notified of the prices increases," said a
petrol station worker, asking not to be named "It's huge leap
and we worry that people will be angry."
The Arab African country lost three-quarters of its oil
reserves - its main source of revenues and of dollars for food
imports - when South Sudan became independent in 2011.
Petrol stations in the capital Khartoum raised the price of
a gallon (3.8 litres) of petrol on Monday to 21 pounds (almost
$3 based on black market prices), from 12 pounds.
"The government ... has no idea of what people are going
through. I am ready to join any protest against the lifting,"
said 41-year old Ahmed Iassan, an unemployed worker.
The government started reducing some fuel subsidies in July
2012. Several weeks of small protests ended with a security
It had hoped to sustain the remaining support by boosting
gold exports to replace oil revenues, but was thwarted by the
recent fall in global gold prices.
A gallon of gasoline now costs 14 pounds, up from 8.5
pounds, petrol station staff said. The prices for a cylinder of
cooking gas rose to 25 pounds from 15 pounds.
In a televised news conference, Bashir said late on Sunday
Sudan was no longer able to afford the subsidies which he said
cost the treasury $15.5 billion every year based on the official
Sudan produces too little to feed its 32 million people.
Even basic food imports arrive by ship in Port Sudan, before
they get trucked for days across the vast country, spurring food
The Sudanese pound is worth barely a third of its value
against the dollar on the black market at the time of the
Opposition activists have criticised the move to cut fuel
subsidies but the weak opposition has yet to stir mass protest.
(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz and Ulf Laessing; Editing by