Smuggling and Corruption

NISS Chief 1st Lt. General (Engineer) Salah Abdallah has said that
NISS has started campaigns in collaboration with the concerned bodies of the state to combat corruption in implementation of the directives of the President of the Republic, referring to setting up of a specialized body in this connection that aims at gathering information and analyzing them prior to submitting it to the prosecution office to take action on it.
This came on Tuesday in a press conference in which the NISS has announced the abortion of a smuggling operation of a quantity of gold amounting to 245 kilograms that had been on its way outside the country through the crossing of Jeili area, north of Khartoum, whose value is estimated at 9 million dollars.
In this context, the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) has reaffirmed determination of the state to continue its campaign to
wipe out organized networks that target to sabotage the Sudanese
economy, saying that nobody is above the law and whoever violates
the procedures would be brought before the law according to the decisions of the President of the Republic.
It is also important to note the statements of the Director General of NISS, when addressing the press conference organized by the Economic Security Department on Tuesday 10 July, when he referred to existence of organized networks to sabotage the national economy through smuggling of gold and foreign currencies besides the agricultural resources outside the country, indicating that the seized quantity of gold equals the purchases of the central bank of the precious metal in a whole month.
The importance of these statements is the stress on the strong link between smuggling and corruption and this is the issue that should be the base for all efforts to combat both as a single target because this is the only way to eradicate them. Smuggling and Corruption are two faces of the same coin and so must be combated as a single entity

Law and Corruption

The media reported this week very extensively on the ongoing investigations on major corruption allegations and this included the ex-Minister of Finance Badr El Din Mahmound and some senior officials in the Ministry of Finance in a case of foreign loan and in which it was alleged that there the suspicion of corruption.  There are also other cases under cases been investigated by the Attorney General Office, all these steps have been highly welcomed by the media and the public as the first steps in the long road to reduce drastically corruption. What is important at the same time is that there should very strict adherence to the golden justice rule that the accused is presumed incent until proven guilty by a competent court of law In which he is given a fair trial and the chance to defend himself. The importance of strict adherence  to the rule of law that the contrary will result that in the future competent persons will refrain from holding public posts for fear that they may be liable to unjustified accusations and defamations and so the country lose the benefits  that can come from their active participation in the higher levels of public administration. This is not just theoretical perceptions but has happened in a neighboring country where now the political leadership faces a very hard time to enlist highly qualified personal in the administration.
Same time and as we have said many times before legal action alone will never be a sustainable remedy for the disease of corruption. What is more important is a radical reforms in the laws, bylaws and regulations that allow the lop holes through which corrupt practices can pass. We even go further more and request that there is a fundamental need for a revision of the quality of the performance of some high official who have been for many years in their high posts without delivering any significant achievement because this is also a kind of corruption when the resources when even when not embezzled are not used in the most efficient manner.
This also lead to the question of that it is high time that there is in every ministry, public institutions or organization a very effective M&E a (Monitoring and Evaluation) mechanism. This will save a lot of resources by the early dedications of flows and mistakes and if there is need to amend the original plans.

Fuel Crises

The present fuel crises show clearly that when addressing the challenges of any crises the strategic approach is missing. In our view from the start there should have been a strong focus on two areas. The first to insure that the agricultural sector will be provided with them sufficient fuel for the present season operations. The second that the highest priority should have been given to public transport means (with a strong supervision mechanisms to insure that the fuel goes actually to those who are operating and nit selling it in the black market as have been notices during this crises) and not as have happened in equal footing with the personal cars and vehicles users.
But if we really want to put an end to this kind of crises from coming around another time then we must radically reform the structure of the public transport system in the capital, Khartoum. The strategic aim number one for such a new strategic approach should be dependency in the movement of the population should first and last depend on the public transport system. This does not mean that we are calling for the complete ownership of the public sector of this field on the contrary we think in some of the components of such a strategy the role of the private sector is vital. This requires first, the creation of the conducive environment for a large influx of private investments in particular in good quality public transport buses and vehicles. There must be an urgent program to remove or reduce all the high customs and taxations tariffs on this sector as well as the high cost of licensing, insurance and other dues and fees. This also requires that the government invest heavily in the maintenance of the roads and traffic facilitation signs and equipment’s. 
Then there is the need to make the public transport companies and owners really comprehend on the importance of adhering strictly to the laws and regulations relating to vehicles weights and road loads capacities and that they should put their corporate responsibilities before quick profit.

South Sudan

The Government of Sudan have succeeded in convening peace talks between the two parties that have been engaging in a tragic war of destruction in South Sudan. And all the reports so far indicate that the cease fire agreement that was the first fruit of the Khartoum meeting is holding and the negotiations are going on to compete the whole agreed upon agenda for a comprehensive peace agreement for first and last the benefit of the Southern Sudanese civilians who were the real victims in this conflict.
But it is important on the latter stage of this negotiations that space is given for the voices of those outside the domain of the two major opposing entities; that is the voice of the women and youth who paid a heavy toll in this conflict and as well as the civil society organizations that have played an active role in assisting the victims.

Free Education

This year the idea of the right of every child to access to free basic public education have become a myth  under the rules of the different localities and the Khartoum State’s Ministry of Public Education. Not a single father or mother you meet these days who is not complaining about the high cost imposed on the registration of their children in basic education schools. May be it is high time that right to free public basic education is enforced on all states by the Constitutional Court which needs that parents move to petition the court to do so and I think many layers and legal experts will be ready to assist in such an endeavor.

Climate Change
Within the partnerships between the government and the NGOs to overcome the impacts of climate change and strengthening the flexibility of the fragile communities the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Physical Development in collaboration with the European Union launched Sunday 8 July a workshop of Strengthening Local Communities Resilience to Climate Change in Northern, River Nile, Kassala and North Darfur states.
The overall objective of the project is to increase local communities’ resilience to climate change. The action will contribute to increased household incomes in targeted communities, gained from sustainable improved farming and pastoralism practices or alternative income generating activities.
In the last few years there have been many small projects to address climate change and environmental degradation like the project mentioned above as well as the Red Plus and Adapt but the real need is for major large projects that will have a great impact which so far is missing.
We know that Minister of Environment is commended at the national and international level for his strong commitment to the issues of climate change and the environment but still there is same to be lack of the same energy at the lower levels in the ministry. We would like to ask that now after almost more than 2 years and 8 months from the signing of the 2015,  what have been the preliminary outcomes on the five main work groups on this respect . This will be the base for the real efforts for a major national efforts supported by the international community to really address the challenges of climate change. And we will revert once more fully to this issue.

States Taxes

Sudan few months ago have signed the CFTA (Africa- Content Free Trade Agreement) which aim at the removal of all trade barriers between African countries but what is strange is that there are state tariffs on the trade between the different states of Sudan.