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Khartoum Tightens Forex Rules

Travelers leaving Sudan face more restrictions

Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN  Aug 22, 2010

(eTN) - Travelers leaving from the Sudan are facing yet more restrictions on the amount of foreign currency they can purchase, according to a source in Juba. Already suffering from a shortage of hard currency, the situation seems to have grown worse in recent months, and questions are being asked in the South where all the forex earned from oil sales has gone. Allegations frequently emerge that the regime in Khartoum has mortgaged much of the oil proceeds to acquire arms and ammunition in defiance of a UN embargo, but insiders in Juba regularly in contact with this correspondent often argue that this is of no concern to the Bashir regime, said to re-arm on a large scale to be ready for another round of war, should they not be able to keep the Southern oil wealth under their control when the independence referendum has been concluded.

At the same time, the Central Bank also suspended operations of accounts for a number of government agencies and bodies, most notably of the country’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), of the Stock Exchange, and more worrying, expatriate organizations. Having no access to their funds will make operations for the CAA hugely difficult, something those at the Central Bank in Khartoum do not seem to appreciate, but the blocking of expatriate organizations accounts is more ominous as oppressive and muzzling policies are thought to be behind this particular move.

Southern Sudanese travelers, as well as leading business figures in Juba, openly called to defy this move saying as a presently semi-autonomous region, en route to independence, they are not subject to the regime’s command and control economy and dictates, while several were seemingly prompted to send messages to the effect "independence for us in the South cannot come soon enough."

Travelers leaving Sudan face more restrictions
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