KHARTOUM (AFP) – Sudan will lift subsidies on petroleum products, a senior ruling party official said on Sunday, as the government tries to stabilise a troubled economy which last year sparked protests.
"What is confirmed is the subsidies will be lifted," Rabbie Abdelatti Ebaid of the ruling National Congress Party told AFP.
Ebaid said Finance and Economy Minister Ali Mahmud al-Rasul informed the party's political bureau earlier Sunday of the move, which could see prices at the pumps rise within days after a formal decree is issued.
Ebaid said all remaining subsidies will be eliminated, leaving the government to pay the world price for oil.
It currently buys crude at about $51 a barrel, he said, less than half the global price.
Anti-regime demonstrations spread last year after President Omar al-Bashir announced austerity measures including tax hikes and an end to cheap fuel.
The cost of petrol at the pump roughly doubled at that time when fuel subsidies were partly lifted.
Sudan lost billions of dollars in oil receipts when South Sudan gained independence two years ago, taking with it about 75 percent of the formerly united country's crude production.
Since then the north has been plagued by inflation, a weakened currency and a severe shortage of dollars to pay for imports.