Sudan takes austerity steps, launches new currency

Austerity measures to be presented to parliament to compensate for loss of oil revenues; South Sudan will issue new currency within three months.

Sudan President Bashir 311 R (photo credit: REUTERS)
Sudan President Bashir 311 R
(photo credit: REUTERS)
KHARTOUM - Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said on Tuesday austerity measures would be presented to parliament to compensate for the loss of oil revenues after the south's secession and a new currency would be issued.
"We have placed an emergency program for the next three years," Bashir told parliament, adding that an "austerity measures package" had been started and a revised budget with no new taxes or duties would be presented to the assembly.
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"The package of the economic measures includes issuing a new currency in the coming days," he said.
Newly independent South Sudan will take up to three months to replace north Sudan pounds circulating in its economy with its new currency, southern Central Bank governor Elijah Malok told Reuters.
Malok said the oil-producing nation, which seceded from the north on Saturday, would keep its currency pegged with a one-to-one value to the north Sudan pound for the immediate future.
Asked when the south might remove the peg and take more control over its economic destiny, Malok answered: "It will be in the context of the economic movement. It will depend on our resources, particularly the hard currency."
Asked how long it would take to replace up to 2 billion north Sudanese pounds in circulation in the south, he answered "between one month to three months".
South Sudanese overwhelmingly voted to declare independence from the north in a January referendum - the climax of a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of civil war.