Agents of the National Intelligence and Security service (NISS) confiscated the entire print-run ofandnbsp;El Tayarandnbsp;daily newspaper in Khartoum on Monday. President Al Bashir announced that he will handle the media file himself in the future.
A journalist of the newspaper reported that a press officer of the Sudanese security apparatus appeared at the printing press and ordered the confiscation of the entire print-run without giving a reason.
Editorials written by El Tayar's editor-in-chief, Osman Mirghani must have been the reason, he told Radio Dabanga. Mirghani strongly criticised the lifting of subsidies on basic commodities planned by the Ministry of Finance and demanded the resignation of the Finance Minister.
El Tayar was the only Sudanese newspaper gagged because it criticised the subsidies cuts. Yet, other newspapers also strongly condemned the lifting of subsidies on wheat, flour, fuel and electricity next year, as proposed by Finance minister Badreldin Mahmoud “to avoid economic collapse”.
In his address to the parliamentary caucus of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) on Monday, President Al Bashir denounced the “media attacks” on the Finance Minister.
He accused the Sudanese newspapers of conspiring against his government, and said that he will handle the media file himself in the future.
Subsidies or taxes
Early last week the Minister of Finance urged the MPs to endorse the government’s plan to introduce new cuts to subsidies on basic goods and services in next year's budget.
He said that the new subsidy cuts will enable the government to direct funds to other productive sectors, to bring the country out of the current “economic bottleneck”.
Opposition forces also fiercely criticised the proposal. A number of NCP officials expressed their lack of support for the step.
Economist Dr Feisal Hassan Awad told Radio Dabanga on Friday that the subsidies have been silently lifted already, pointing to the prices of fuel in Sudan that did not change while global fuel prices dropped significantly.
As a result of the “complete stop of the production wheel” the government is forced to raise more taxes and fees, he explained. “In reality, the state will not lift subsidies as proposed in next year's budget, but it will increase again the taxes on basic goods, to cover its military expenses and those of the security apparatus, the public administration, as well as its own projects.”