Reports of government plans to privatize seaports have been met by a chorus of condemnation in Sudan’s Red Sea state.
The reports have been circulated about the formation of a committee of the Ministry of Transportation to proceed with the privatization of the ports.
Activist Mohammed Karrar told Radio Dabanga from Port Sudan that the decision to privatize will lead to the displacement of more than 40,000 workers and staff, and warned of the serious economic and social effects of the decision.
He expressed surprise at “the state’s orientation towards privatization of profitable institutions, while what is required is the privatization of loss-making ones”.
Karrar stressed that the ports are institutions associated with the sovereignty of the state that should not be privatized or managed by foreigners.
Karrar also explained that the Beja Congress is planning to hold a symposium by specialists to discuss the issue of the privatization of the seaports on Friday.
“Ports constitute a main source of income for all the citizens of the state.”
The Beja Congress itself reiterated its rejection of the decision to privatize the ports. On behalf of the Beja Congress leadership, AbdullahMousa expressed concern about the serious implications of the privatization of ports in the displacement of staff and workers, highlighting that the ports constitute a main source of income for all the citizens of the state.
He noted that the government has already embarked on the privatization project by renting some locations within the ports to companies.
Mousa also said, “The main obstacle facing the ports is closing of incoming and outgoing trade movement and shutting down the global market on the face of the country because of the foreign policies of the government.”
He told Radio Dabanga that “the decision to privatize the ports has no economic feasibility and is indicative of corruption”.
The General Union for Port Workers in Port Sudan also reject the decision. In a statement on Wednesday, the Union announced its intention to arrange a meeting with the Transportation Minister to inform him of its point of view.