Sudan's Privatization Experience
The following comments were made by Abu Baker Salameh, and appeared in the al-Rai Al-Aam daily (translated from Arabic by Al-Bawaba staff).
Globalization and privatization are a reality in Sudan, with the latter clearly illustrated by the sale of the Sudanese Telecommunications Company and the opening of the state-owned power sector to private investors. The government is now slated to permit the private sector to import certain commodities and medications and eventually open hospitals to private management.
Thus, the question is no longer whether the country will engage in these practices of globalization, but rather how will they be managed. The logical way to manage would be to first establish goals, then implement policy and, lastly, to see whether the outcome met the goals. If they didn't, why not; and if they did, should we continue with this policy or change it.
Thus far, the management style in Sudan has been completely reactive. No goals have been established for any economic policies, particularly regarding the sale of state assets, utilities and production units. It seems the government is just interested in the fees and tax money derived from these deals, while the citizens must carry the hefty burden. The governments have not installed any mechanisms to ensure that the companies acquiring state-owned enterprises operate in a way that benefits the Sudanese citizen.
As for the committee supervising loss-making state enterprises that are candidates to be sold to the private sector, they must set goals and projected results of the sale to private hands. This will enable to evaluate the utility to both sides, the government and the citizen.
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)