Sudan criticized for “repulsive” investment policy
An Arab businessman has castigated the Sudanese government for its failure to create a transparent environment for investment, few days after Khartoum decided to eliminate its investment ministry under intense pressure from the parliament. © Sudanese Petroleum Corporation
According to Salih Abdullah Al-Kamil, a Saudi investor who heads the Union of Islamic Commerce Chambers, the Sudanese government's “repulsive” investment policy is to blame for the departure of foreign investors from the country. Al-Kamil, who was speaking during the conference of Arab food security held in Khartoum on Tuesday in the presence of Sudan's Vice-President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, said that the government's adoption of “erroneous and erratic” plans coupled with its “fluctuating monetary, political and economic policies” has repelled foreign investors. He further accused the government of lacking transparency in its investment policy, saying that the investment sector suffers from a host of problems represented in the absence of basic legal regulations and violation of contracts.
The businessman expressed regret at the fact that the Sudanese government treats taxation as a way to fill its coffers and cover deficits in its budget. He went on to advise the government that providing an attractive environment and laws is not enough, calling on Khartoum to adopt a holistic approach by introducing extensive reforms into the laws and policies organizing investment. In response to the criticism, Sudan's vice-president Taha admitted the absence of investment policies in his country, adding that his government was determined to review the investment law as well as other laws related to it, including the lands law which he said the government already began to review in demonstration of its seriousness in attracting investors.
The Sudanese government this week declared its intention to drop the investment ministry in its next cabinet and decided to devolve its duties to the presidency of the republic in a move intended to assuage pressure from the national parliament. A number of parliamentarians last week lashed out at the government's investment policy, citing allegations of corruption and nepotism which they said drove foreign investors away.