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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 June 2018

Sudan sets major Cabinet reshuffle, state news agency says

Details will be announced later today

Sudan’s President Omar Al Bashir addresses the nation during the 62nd Anniversary Independence Day at the Palace in Khartoum, Sudan on December 31, 2017. Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah / Reuters
Sudan’s President Omar Al Bashir addresses the nation during the 62nd Anniversary Independence Day at the Palace in Khartoum, Sudan on December 31, 2017. Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah / Reuters

Sudanese Prime Minister Bakri Hassan Saleh is expected on Monday to announce a major cabinet reshuffle that will see eight ministers replaced amid a growing economic crisis, state media reported.

The reshuffle comes weeks after President Omar Al Bashir sacked foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour after he said that he had been unable to pay his diplomats for months due to a shortage of funds.

The cabinet overhaul was approved by Mr Bashir's ruling National Congress Party at a meeting late on Sunday, the official news agency SUNA reported.

"The reshuffle will see eight ministers and five ministers of state replaced," SUNA quoted Faisal Ibrahim, a top presidential aide, as saying.

The full details will be announced later on Monday by the prime minister, Mr Ibrahim said, adding that governors of 10 states will also be replaced.

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The government changes come amid a growing economic crisis in the East African country, with media reports saying that ministers of finance, oil and mining were likely to be among those replaced.

The country's new foreign minister is also expected to be announced.

Last month Mr Bashir sacked Mr Ghandour — who led negotiations with Washington to lift a decades-old trade embargo on Khartoum — after he told parliament that his diplomats had been unpaid for months.

Sudan has been facing financial difficulties amid an acute shortage of hard foreign currency that has seen the country's economic crisis worsen.

The foreign currency shortage has seen the pound plunging against the dollar, forcing the central bank to devalue it twice since January.

Expectations of a quick economic revival were high in the aftermath of October 12 when Washington lifted its sanctions imposed on Khartoum in 1997.

But officials say the situation has not changed at all as international banks continue to be wary of doing business with Sudanese banks.

Sudan's overall economy had been hit particularly hard after the south separated from the north in 2011, taking with it about 75 per cent of oil earnings.

A surging inflation rate of about 56 per cent, regular fuel shortages and rising prices of food items have often triggered sporadic anti-government protests in Khartoum and some other towns.