May 10, 2019 / 9:57 PM / 10 days ago

UPDATE 1-Sudan delivers fuel to power stations, has enough flour for June

(Updates with fuel supplies delivered to power stations)

KHARTOUM, May 10 (Reuters) - Sudan said on Friday it has delivered fuel supplies to power stations and is working on solutions to a cash crisis, addressing some of the main triggers for mass protests that led to the ouster of President Omar al-Bashir last month.

General Ibrahim Jaber, a member of Sudan’s ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) also said that flour supplies were sufficient to cover the needs of the country of 40 million through the end of June.

The problems pose challenges to the TMC, set up after generals deposed Bashir and arrested him on April 11.

Concern over the shortages increased ahead of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which began last week. Consumption rises during Ramadan, when Muslims fast from dawn to dusk.

The TMC is locked in a standoff with protesters over who will control a proposed joint civilian-military body to oversee the country until elections can be held. Protests have continued in a bid to push the council to cede power to civilians.

“Fuel supplies have been supplied to all of Sudan,” Jaber said according to state television. “Fuel has (also) been delivered directly to power stations and they have started working.”

Most residential areas in the capital experience near-daily electricity outages for hours. The increasing blackouts occurred as Khartoum’s temperatures soared to 47 Celsius (117 Fahrenheit).

Jaber also said the TMC was considering issuing special cards for citizens to purchase fuel as a way of coping with the cash shortages that had plagued the country for months.

“This is a step that will reduce the transfer of currency outside the banking system,” he said.

Citizens have been queuing for hours at banks or ATM machines to withdraw cash. The maximum daily withdrawal has long been set at 2,000 Sudanese pounds ($44.45).

Bashir’s government had run up enormous budget deficits by subsidising fuel, bread and other products. To cover the deficit, it expanded the money supply. ($1 = 44.9902 Sudanese pounds) (Reporting by Hesham Hajali; writing by Sami Aboudi; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Cynthia Osterman)

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