Sudan offers its citizens abroad incentive to sell dollars to banks

Move meant to close gap between official and unofficial rate of dollar to attract savings from Sudanese expats

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The Central Bank of Sudan is offering Sudanese living abroad incentives to attract their foreign currency into the Sudanese banking system to alleviate the country’s foreign currency crunch.

The central bank, which has been keeping the Sudanese pound artificially strong at 6.4 per dollar, is now buying dollars from Sudanese living abroad for around 16 per dollar, close to the parallel market rate.

“The value of the incentive reached 128 percent of the value of the dollar in the banking system,” Hazem Abdul-Qadir, Sudan’s Central Bank spokesman, told Reuters on Saturday.

“We hope, through these measures, to attract the savings of workers abroad and providing more foreign currency resources to the banks to fund imports for private companies,” he added.

Closing the gap

The spokesman said that there is no intention to float the pound, but that the move is meant to close the gap between the official and unofficial rate of the dollar to attract savings from Sudanese expatriates.

The central bank does not have a value for the Sudanese expatriates’ remittances as transactions are carried out outside the banking system.

Prices soared in Sudan after South Sudan seceded in 2011, taking with it three-quarters of the country’s oil output, the main source of foreign currency used to support the Sudanese pound and to pay for food and other imports.

Inflation reached 18.32 per cent in September.

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