Sudan to cut budget of state security watchdog in 2012

October 16, 2011 (Sudan Tribune)

Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) on Sunday announced it has agreed to an unspecified budget cut in 2012, signaling increased pressure on the government to tackle the country’s economic crisis.

Sudan treats spending on its powerful and bloated security apparatus as a state secret and it never published any figures on how much is being received by the NISS which has in the past been protected from cuts.

The state of economy in Sudan has been in rapid decline with inflation skyrocketing due to increases in food prices and the local currency’s downward spiral against the dollar. Sudan is also suffering from the loss of 75 percent of the revenues of the 500,000 barrels of oil it used to produce before South Sudan seceded in July this year.

The Sudanese Media Center (SMC), a website believed to be run by the NISS, reported on Sunday that the ministry of finance had been conducting intensive talks with the NISS to persuade it to reduce its budget.

Citing a source from the ministry of finance, SMC reported that the talks had yielded an agreement to reduce NISS’s budget below the level of 2011.

Last month, the governor of Sudan’s central bank said his country needs to cut state expenditure by more than 25 percent as part of trenchant austerity measures to help the economy.

SMC also quoted the director of the NISS’s financial department as confirming that talks with finance ministry’s officials had resulted in a “total agreement” to reduce the NISS’s budget, adding that the apparatus had already been implementing a three-phase policy of “financial restraint” since 2010.

Sudan is known to prioritize spending on military and security apparatus instead of infrastructure, health and social services.

According to a report by Research and Market, spending on Sudan’s defense and security industry rose from US$2.469bn in 2009 to US$3.308bn in 2010.

The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) reportedly decided to bifurcate the NISS into a branch for internal security and another for external security.


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