Sudan Vows Tough Austerity Program After Government Shake-Up

(Bloomberg) -- Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir announced tough economic measures including government spending cuts as he vowed to resolve a crisis that’s seen the North African nation’s inflation rate tripling in the past two years.

Al-Bashir described a “new economic strategy” he said would reduce cabinet expenditures, reform investment rules and fight corruption, in a televised address Monday, without giving further details. He spoke at the swearing-in of a new prime minister and vice president and after his order to reduce the number of government ministries to 21 from 31.

Sudan has seen sporadic protests this year over rising living costs, with its currency devalued twice and some subsidies cut as part of measures to comply with International Monetary Fund recommendations to revive an economy suffering from the loss of most of its oil when South Sudan seceded in 2011. Inflation accelerated to 64 percent in July, compared with 16.5 percent two years ago.

Sudan’s new prime minister, Mutaz Musa, was sworn in Monday, as was new Vice President Mohamed Osman Kibir, the former governor of North Darfur. Bakri Hassan Saleh’s post of prime minister was ceded to Musa, but he retained his position as first vice president. The reshuffle was the second in four months by al-Bashir, who came to power in a 1989 military coup.

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