May 11, 2017 / 9:58 PM / 2 months ago

Sudan's PM reshuffles cabinet, replaces economic ministers

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Sudan's prime minister and first vice president Bakri Hassan Saleh looks on during group photos with Minsters at Council of Minsters in Khartoum, Sudan March 2, 2017.Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

CAIRO (Reuters) - Sudanese Prime Minister Hassan Saleh announced a new government on Thursday, with changes to economic ministers including the oil, investment and finance chiefs.

Sudan's constitution was amended in December to introduce the position of prime minister, a demand of opposition parties that took part in a national dialogue with the government, with the aim of redistributing some of the president's extensive powers.

President Omar Hassan al-Bashir's long war against various rebel groups has coincided with a severe economic downturn. This year's budget foresees a growing deficit and slower growth.

The economic problems have been building since the south seceded in 2011, taking with it three-quarters of oil output, the main source of foreign currency and government income.

"This government comes to implement the recommendations of the national dialogue, the country's largest political event after independence in 1956. The government's priorities are to increase production and people's livelihoods and achieve peace," Saleh said at news conference on Thursday.

Mohamed Othman Rukabi, a former army lieutenant general, was appointed as finance minister, Saleh said.

Mubarak Fadel al-Mahdi was appointed as minister of investment, while Abdulrahman Othman Abdulrahman was appointed as oil minister.

Saleh also announced that Hamed al-Mannan was appointed as minister of interior.

Saleh was appointed prime minister on March 1. It was the first time that Bashir has appointed a prime minister since he came to power in 1989 in an Islamist and military-backed coup.

Saleh, a long-time ally, is the last member of the group of officers that launched the coup to remain at Bashir's side.

Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Asma Alsharif; Editing by Alison Williams

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