KHARTOUM, Oct 27 (Reuters) – Sudan doubled domestic fuel prices on Tuesday, a move that should help reduce a gaping budget deficit but is sure to anger many of the country’s impoverished citizens.

The government, which has long fixed fuel prices at some of the lowest levels in the world, raised the price at the pump of locally produced diesel to 46 Sudanese pounds ($0.8364) a litre from the previous 23 pounds, acting energy and mining minister Khairy Abdel Rahman told a news conference on Tuesday evening.

It increased the price of petrol to 56 pounds from 28 pounds, he added.

The Sudanese pound is officially pegged at 55 to the dollar, but on the black market on Tuesday one dollar fetched 235 pounds.

Sudan suffers from severe fuel shortages, and long queues of cars can be seen in front of fuel stations in the capital Khartoum. Yet the cost of subsidising fuel has weighed heavily on the state budget.

Frustration over the queues to buy fuel and bread helped trigger the uprising that ousted long-time President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019.

The government will also permit importers to ratchet up the price of imported fuel far above that produced domestically, with importers being allowed to sell diesel for 106 pounds a litre and petrol for 120 pounds, the minister said. Until now imported fuel was sold at the same prices as local fuel.

The minister added that the prices of imported fuel will be revised weekly.

Sudan in April allowed private sector and banks to import fuel for transportation, mining and industry.

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