- “This is the genuine beginning of change in the provinces,” Hamdok said.
- Hamdok acknowledged the low representation of women among the appointed governors, and proposed higher representation.
- Hamdok also confirmed that his government is negotiating with the International Criminal Court (ICC) to handle the charges against the former president, Omar al-Bashir.
The transitional government of Sudan announced the replacement of most military governors with civilians Wednesday as a step towards returning the country towards a democratic, civilian-led structure. Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok announced the change from the capital, Khartoum.
Hamdok said to the media that the appointment of civil governors, including two women, in 18 regional states of the country was approved by Abdel Fattah al- Burhan, head of the Sovereign Transitional Council. “This is the genuine beginning of change in the provinces,” he said. “I hope this step will have a profound effect in preserving security and stability.” Hamdok said.
The Sudanese Prime Minister acknowledged the low representation of women among the appointed governors, and proposed higher representation for women in the provincial governments. “We need to deal with this issue and to go beyond slogans to the real action,” said the premier.
The Prime Minister also confirmed that his government is negotiating with the International Criminal Court (ICC) to handle the charges against the former president, Omar al-Bashir, and other former officials sought for the killings in Darfur and other various crimes.
During the conference, the Prime Minister also announced some of the reforms that his government intends to take to re-establish the nation’s economy, which is currently in a terrible situation. Specifically, Hamdok announced a gradual currency fluctuation and the removal of fuel subsidies as part of his vast plan to deal with the country’s economic crisis.
The measures will be implemented after the 2020 budget changes to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Hamdok specified that the government “will gradually cut subsidies for petrol and diesel,” but subsidies for medicine, electricity, bread and gas will remain in effect.
Affected by decades of U.S. sanctions, and mismanagement of public finances under al-Bashir’s government, the Sudanese economy is currently in a terrible state. The annual inflation rate is over 100%, and shortages of electricity, bread, fuel and medicine is chronic.
The currency recently hit a record low of 150 Sudanese pounds against the dollar, with an official rate of around 55. Foreign debt accounts for over 190% of GDP, currently close to $60 billion.
The coronavirus pandemic has dealt another blow to Sudan’s economy, causing a 40% loss in public revenue, according to Finance Minister Hiba Mohamed Ali. Overall, the economy contracted 2.5% in 2019, and is expected to shrink 8% this year, according to the International Monetary Fund.
The Fund said last month that they have reached an initial agreement with the Hamdok government to carry out a program that plans to increase government revenue and review energy subsidies in order to create more space for expenditure to social programs, including the health sector and assistance to the poor.
Since August 21, 2019, Sudan has had a new transitional government, headed by Abdalla Hamdok. The new government is scheduled to lead the country for 3 years and 3 months when new elections shall be held.
Previously, the country was led by the Military Council, headed by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who came to power following the overthrow of the former president, Omar al-Bashir. Months of protests against Bashir led to his ouster on April 11.
The demonstrations began on December 19, 2018, lashing out against the 30 years of al-Bashir’s authoritarian regime, characterized by internal conflicts, international isolation, and profound economic problems.