Khartoum reinstates subsidy on medical drugs

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

The Sudanese government has reversed its decision to lift subsidies on medical drugs, amid amounting calls for a nationwide strike against the recent austerity measures.

Health Minister Bahri Idriss Abu Garda announced Friday that the government would revive the drugs subsidy, especially on the life-saving ones.

''We announce here the cancellation of the new price list issued by the pharmaceutical council,'' the minister said.

''We assure our people that the prices of the life-saving drugs will not be increased at all,'' he added.

Had dismissed

Mr Garda further announced that President Omar al-Bashir had dismissed the chairman of the pharmaceutical council, Mr Mohamed Alakad.

The dismissed senior official, the minister said, had issued a wrong price list prices and raised the cost of some drugs which were still under the subsidy.

Earlier this month, the government announced austerity measures, lifting the subsidies on fuel, drugs and electricity, among other essential goods and services.

Other cities

The move sparked wide condemnation and protests in the capital Khartoum and other cities.

In the meantime, thousands of youth activists have launched a social media campaign for a general strike in the entire country beginning Sunday.

The calls have also been widely circulated on posters and wall graffiti in Khartoum.

Security organs

The opposition parties have welcome the calls, warning the government against using violence to hinder the peaceful protests.

The opposition parties and the rebels of the SPLM-N said in a statement on Friday that they would support the Sunday strike.

''We call on the security organs not to use violence against the protesters as they would be exercising their constitutional right to peaceful protests,'' the statement read.

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