KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan has been indirectly hit by the global financial crisis and will have to raise taxes to make up for the falling price of its main export, oil, the finance minister said on Thursday.
Sudanese government officials earlier this year said their country was largely immune to the worldwide slowdown, partly because U.S. trade sanctions over Sudan's alleged support for terrorism and the war in its Darfur region had insulated it from the American economy.
But Sudanese finance minister Awad al-Jaz told reporters Sudan had been hit indirectly through the oil price, and by the fact that some of its trading partners did have sizeable U.S. investments and business dealings.
Al-Jaz said he planned to raise vehicle import duties in his budget for calendar year 2009 as well as taxes on telecoms services. He did not release figures or go into greater detail about which services would be taxed.
His 2009 budget had already been approved by Sudan's coalition cabinet and would go before parliament next week, he added. The government has a strong majority in parliament, which has not rejected a national budget in years.
"We must search for other resources besides oil and develop other products to protect our country and our economy from the effect of the international financial crisis," he told a news conference.
Sudan says it currently produces 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude, and the mining and energy minister last week said it would raise that figure to 600,000 bpd in 2009.