Unrest has erupted in Sudan over the elimination of fuel subsidies. Some protesters are calling for the overthrow of the Khartoum government., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
THURSDAY 28 NOVEMBER 2013
Foreign pharmaceutical companies refuse to deal with Sudan
November 28, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s Drug Importers Chamber (DIC) has revealed that 31 foreign pharmaceutical companies have refused to deal with Sudan until outstanding credits amounting to $90 million are repayed, accusing the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS) of failing to provide the foreign exchange.
The DIC warned against the significant shortage in drugs, describing the government’s decision to provide foreign exchange for the basic commodities as "ineffective".
The chamber renewed its call for the allocation of a portion of gold revenues for drugs importation rather than revenues from non-oil exports which only provides for 30 to 40% of actual needs.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, DIC spokesperson Yasir Hamed said CBoS failed to provide the necessary amount of foreign exchange needed for drugs importation, stressing that the 10% allocated from non-oil exports revenues for the purpose provides only $100 million while the actual needs amount to $300 million.
He pointed that the government’s decision to provide hard currency for the important and life-saving drugs reflects the failure of the CBoS and the ministry of finance to provide foreign exchange, pointing that doctors and pharmacist do not agree on the definition of the life-saving drugs.
The DIC went further to complain that this inability to provide foreign currency for drug importers, is the main reason for increase in drug price.
Several pharmaceutical companies were forced to shut down over lack of hard currency.
After South Sudan’s independence in mid-2011, Khartoum lost access to more than three-quarters of the oil reserves that were the main driver of an economic boom that lasted for much of the last decade.
Since then the government has struggled with a shortage of hard currency and revenue as the pound sank in value on the widely used black market and inflation soared.
The CBoS refuses to disclose the amount of Forex reserves it holds but a report released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) shows it having $1.6 billion in 2013 which covers only 2 months of imports compared to $1.7 billion in 2012.
An IMF online survey published in 2011 argues that that a country must hold Forex reserves that cover 3 months of imports at a minimum.