International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This Selected Issues paper on Sudan provides a first stock-taking of the scale, main transmission channels and potential costs of poor governance and corruption in Sudan and offers preliminary recommendations. A large body of literature and country analyses confirm that weak governance and corruption undermine economic growth, amplify income inequality and erode public trust in the institutions. According to international agencies and existing literature, Sudan has scored very poorly on compliance with rule of law best practices in the past. Effective implementation of preventive measures is important; particularly in relation to politically exposed persons. Transparency on beneficial ownership of legal persons and arrangements to prevent their misuse for laundering the proceeds of corruption are necessary. Transparency, accountability, and comprehensive communication should be the backbone of governance and anti-corruption reforms in each sector. Rationalizing tax exemptions and phasing out tax holidays would strengthen governance while boosting fiscal revenues.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation discusses that while the peace agreement signed in September 2018 has improved the prospects for lasting peace in South Sudan, the implementation of the agreement has become more protracted than envisaged with the recently announced six-month delay in forming a new national unity government. A relapse into war in mid-2016 spread insecurity across the country and severely affected all economic activities and exacerbated the humanitarian crisis and food insecurity. The country is in a serious economic crisis. The discussions focused on the urgent need to restore macroeconomic stability and rebuild economic buffers. Addressing the macroeconomic imbalance, supported by improvements in oil management and public financial management, is an important factor to rebuild confidence in government policies. This will be necessary to regain access to external financial support from development partners. One of the key policy recommendations is to strengthen oil management and transparency by an immediate stop of contracting new oil-backed advances.
This 2014 Article IV Consultation highlights that South Sudan’s economic performance has been mixed in recent years. Real GDP growth has displayed high volatility, the result of changes in oil and agricultural production. Inflation rose in an initial period of economic instability in 2011–12 but was contained in 2013–14 thanks to fiscal and monetary restraint and lower food prices. Serious challenges remain, including distortions in the foreign exchange market and in budget execution, lower international oil prices, and subdued oil production. As a result, financing the budget for FY2014/15 is challenging and will likely require policy decisions given the otherwise potentially adverse impact on economic stability and inflation.
Sudan’s 2006 Article IV Consultation reports that growth has been robust, inflation has been kept at a single-digit level, and important reforms have been undertaken. There has been progress with financial sector reforms and trade liberalization, and the managed floating exchange rate regime has been working well. Despite an increase in oil revenues, the fiscal space of the central government will be constrained because of the transfers required by the peace agreement and decentralization.