A Pan-African Conference on Trade Union in Sudan. President Bashir Hassan al-Bashir standing in attention., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
SATURDAY 25 MAY 2013
Sudan’s parliament reiterates refusal for privatization of Sugar factories
May 24, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s National Assembly has renewed its rejection for selling some sugar factories as part of a government policy aiming at reducing financial and economic burden through privatising public enterprises.
The sale is part of government’s plans to increase agricultural production including sugar in order to compensate for its oil loss after the secession of South Sudan taking with it about 75% of the country’s oil output.
The Sudanese authroities plans to sell 70 % of its shares in four sugar factories including Aljunied, Halfa Al-Gadida, Asalaya, and Sinnar to the private sector and retains the remaining 30% of the capital.
The head of the parliamentary subcommittee on Energy, Mining and Industry, Omer Adam Rahma, warned of the negative results of privatisation, saying that it leads to workers’ layoffs as well as undermining the current efforts to solve the problems of the sugar sector.
In a statement released on Friday, Rahama stressed his committee’ rejection of the move, adding that sugar factories belong to the Sudanese people and should be dealt with in a way that preserves the rights of the people.
Rahama further said that lack of funding is the major problem facing sugar factories, calling upon the government to provide funds in local and foreign currencies.
Once hoped to be the breadbasket of the Arab world, Sudan’s agricultural sector has continued to deteriorate over the years mainly as a result of negligence, drought, mismanagement and the overall economic climate.
Sudan’s minister of industry Abd Al-Wahab Osman, had earlier said that the main motive for privatization is increasing efficiency and improving workers conditions.
He denied that privatization would lead to workers layoffs, saying, instead, it will increase their numbers and skills through training.
Some sugar experts in Khartoum say however it is better to renovate the four factories instead of planning to construct three new factories, adding the privatisation may also destroy the social fabric and the towns that emerged around it.