IMF welcomes progress in Sudan, calls for further economic reforms

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CAIRO, March 8 (Reuters)The Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday approved the first review of the Sudanese Staff Monitored Program (SMP) but called for customs exchange rate reform and more transparency on state-owned enterprises.

“The Sudanese authorities have made tangible progress towards establishing a solid record of policy and reform implementation – an essential condition for eventual debt relief,” an IMF statement said, citing an recent currency devaluation and the removal of fuel subsidies.

The IMF has warned that the economic situation remains “extremely fragile” in Sudan, where a deep economic crisis has resulted in inflation of up to 300 percent and shortages of basic commodities.

“The authorities should implement the reform of the customs exchange rate in a timely manner to increase income and competitiveness and avoid a return to distorting policy measures,” the statement said.

“Improved transparency and management of SOE operations are essential to mitigate fiscal risks and bring more revenue to the budget,” he added.

The IMF also called for the timely passage of a central bank law and the establishment of an independent anti-corruption commission.

(Reporting by Nayera Abdallah and Aidan Lewis; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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