Sudan orders cuts in petrol use to support army

KHARTOUM, Sudan - Government agencies in bankrupt Sudan must slash their use of petrol while civil servants donate part of their salaries to support the army, the official SUNA news agency said late Wednesday.

The order follows weeks of border clashes with South Sudan.

Minister of Finance Ali Mahmud al-Rasul told state institutions and companies to allocate part of their budget, "which is to be transferred soon for the account of the Campaign for Repulsion of Aggression," SUNA said.

State employees must contribute two days' salary, it added.

"The minister of finance also decided on decreasing the weekly fuel quota for government vehicles by 50 per cent," SUNA reported.

The oil-processing facility and export pipeline in Sudan's main oil region of Heglig were burned and damaged during a 10-day occupation by South Sudanese troops.

Both sides have blamed the other for the damage.

A manager at the facility said there has been no production since the start of the occupation on April 10 and it is unclear when the facility can reopen. The occupation followed earlier clashes between the two nations late last month, and raised fears of wider war.

Sudan declared last Friday that its army had forced Southern soldiers out of Heglig. South Sudanese President Salva Kiir had already announced his troops would leave under "an orderly withdrawal", which they completed on Sunday.

The manager said Heglig-area output was 50,000-55,000 barrels a day, accounting for about half the nation's crude production.

Analysts believe essentially all of that was used for domestic consumption.

They said the loss of Heglig would worsen an economy already in crisis after South Sudan separated last July with about 75 per cent of the formerly united Sudan's oil production and billions of dollars in revenue.

Before separation, Southern oil represented more than a third of Khartoum's revenues and its largest source of hard currency, leaving the government struggling for alternatives since then.

Inflation has risen month after month, exceeding 20 per cent, and Sudan's currency is plunging in value. On the black market, one US dollar sells for roughly double the official rate of about 2.7 pounds per dollar.

Become a fan on Facebook