Sudan Raises Salaries for Public-Sector Workers Amid Protests
(Bloomberg) -- Sudan President Omar al-Bashir said his government increased salaries of public-sector workers as part of measures to ease an economic crisis that’s set off some of the biggest protests under his three-decade rule.
The government may also expand health-insurance benefits for citizens and look at improving pensions for those who are retired, Al-Bashir said during a visit to the Sudanese Workers’ Trade Union Federation in the capital, Khartoum, on Thursday.
“We ensured the increase of salaries from this month, January - not the next month,” he said, without giving further details. Sudanese lawmakers this week passed a budget for 2019 that boosts spending by 39 percent and guarantees no further taxes or lifting of subsidies on items such as wheat, fuel or electricity.
Widespread discontent with soaring living costs has fueled a wave of protests that’s posed one of the greatest challenges to Al-Bashir, 75, since he came to power in a 1989 Islamist-backed coup. Thousands of protesters have blocked streets and attempted to march toward the presidential palace while calling on Al-Bashir to resign.
Al-Bashir has blamed the economic crisis on the West and on U.S. sanctions, even though the U.S. in 2017 lifted most sanctions it had imposed in the late 1990s.
The government says 19 people, including two soldiers, have been killed in unrest that began in major cities around Dec. 19. Amnesty International said Dec. 24 it had credible reports that 37 people were shot dead by security forces in the first five days.
©2019 Bloomberg L.P.