Political Reports

“Bankak and its Peers: Positive and Negative

 

Report – Rehab Abdullah

One of the tragic comical things that attenuate the impact of war in Sudan is that people circulate a saying “By God, other than (lentils) and (Bankak) nothing else is on our side”, indicating that “lentils” solve for them the problem of a meal that was often difficult for citizens to secure, but “Bankak” has been the only way to obtain money from private balances or through the subsidies of relatives or friends.
People used to complain when the “Bankak” application was blocked due to problems with the communications network caused by damaged antennas. The evidence is that despite the existence of a number of bank applications, the Bank of Khartoum application “Bankak” was clearly dominant.
However, despite this, many reservations have expressed about using banking applications: “Bankak” of the Bank of Khartoum, Okash of the Omdurman National Bank, and Fawry of the Faisal Islamic Bank.” These reservations have come from the fact that the Rapid Support militia looted huge funds belonging to citizens as well as the funds of state institutions, on top of that looting of banks and currency minting. All this looted money is believed by some people, to have been sneaked out of the country via the use of the banking applications such as bankak
Economists warn of the negative effects of huge money transfers through the banking applications “Bankak, Fawry and Okash” on the Sudanese economy, and they consider it a major reason for the prosperity of illegal trade in currency and the collapse of the value of the Sudanese pound, in addition to its assistance in the large looting operations that occurred in Khartoum as a result of the war between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Militia. The Businessmen Association (BA) has urged the Commander-in-Chief of the Sudanese Armed Forces and Head of the Sovereign Council, Lieutenant General Al-Burhan, to stop payment through the banking applications “Bankak, Fawry and Okash” until the accounts are audited and the source of the funds inside the banking system and outside the banking system is checked.
The BA member Muawiyah Al-Sayed said during a discussion on the issue within the BA’s WhatsApp group, that there are major looting operations that have occurred against citizens, banks, factories, and companies, and he confirmed that the measure recommended should include stoppage of top buying and selling operations which would help flush the thieves out of the national capital Khartoum.
The Businessmen considered what was happening to be a chaos for which the Governor of the Bank of Sudan and the officials at the Bank of Sudan who allowed the entry of looted and stolen funds into the banking system were responsible. They wondered: Where is the regulatory apparatus that the Governor of the Bank of Sudan is talking about?!:
They called for an audit of all accounts after April 15, and pointed out that there are accounts that now contain trillions and billions of pounds.
They stressed that any account whose source of funds has not been proven must have a criminal report opened, and money laundering operations and illicit wealth investigated.
In late September 2023, the Central Bank of Sudan issued a decision reducing transfers in applications to 6 million pounds per day and 100 million per month.
However, it is necessary to acknowledge that these applications provided great services to the citizen during the war period, which confirms that they have play positive roles. However, this does not rule out that they also could be a source for negative effects on the economy. (Sudan Events) tried to investigate the positives and negatives by questioning a number of experts.
In this regard, banking expert Dr. Louay Abdel-Monem told “Sudan Events” that the whole world is moving towards electronic payment, which reduces “cash” and thus reduces the cost of printing currency, which in turn limits liquidity outside the banking system and leads to a decline in the role of currency traders. However, Louay believes that the danger lies in the fact that many banks do not have effective applications, which makes small investors (customers), who are many, focus on banks that have applications for ease of dealing. This may lead them to withdraw their deposits from other banks to banks that have remittance applications, which requires those banks to keep up their deposits by granting higher profits on deposits and easy-term loans to repay at a lower cost. Perhaps Louay points out that some of the banks now that have good applications are foreign and it is possible and likely that they will block their applications for logical reasons that could cause artificial crises. Therefore, Louay cautions against the dominance of Foreign banks.
Louay acknowledges the negatives aspects that accompany transfers through applications, particularly with regard to transfers from the Rapid Support Militia, which now have huge looted funds that they are trying to introduce into the banking system to facilitate its smuggling abroad.
Louay pointed out that transfers are flexible according to specific ceilings that cannot be exceeded, and he reassured the ease of arresting people and decisions that prove their involvement in the concentration of transfers to a specific entity or state, and confirmed that smart devices can easily control over the entity’s applications that enable one to know the person or even his photo according to the permissions contained therein, and he ruled out the possibility of fraud in the banking system, reflecting all the details and confirming the strength of the controls and efficiency of the banking system in relation to supervision.
Economist Dr. Mohammed Al-Nayer confirms that banking applications have many positive aspects. He told “Sudan Events” that if these banking applications had not been present during the war period, a large number of citizens would have died, especially those who still live within Khartoum State. In banks, they suffered greatly, due to the lack of cash to be able to buy their necessary needs, but the availability of these applications made it easier for those in all parts of Sudan to make transfers between themselves “expenses” and also from abroad to citizens inside.
Al-Nayer confirms that they helped a lot in reducing the complications of the war on citizens, especially those in locations where there are no operating banks like Khartoum State. However, on the other hand, we find that Al-Nayer believes that these applications were used incorrectly through customer transactions, and he distanced himself from holding the banks responsible for this and attributed it to the customers and the conscience of the Sudanese citizen who took advantage of these applications in making transfers of stolen funds or for the purpose of purchasing currency from funds originally from an illegal source, and therefore he considers that they were a major reason for the deterioration of the exchange rate of the national currency and the adoption of negative practices that greatly harm the national economy.
Al-Nair refers to the attempts by the Central Bank of Sudan to remedy such negatives by limiting these transfers and reducing the ceiling of daily transfers. However, Al-Nayer warned that this measure could hinder the movement of trade, on the one hand, especially large shops and factories who need such proper procedures to process their goods and other things. On the other hand, it is in the interest of the economy, the interest of Sudan, and the stability of the exchange rate of the national currency. Therefore, the Al-Nayer believes that the state must find a formula or a way out that does not make a large percentage of Sudanese rely on a single application because that has risks if this application malfunctions or if it stops working for a period of time. This shall create a very big crisis, and he called on the Bank of Sudan to find an optimal formula for balancing bank customers with regard to banking applications, or to announce a general application that includes all banks to get rid of the issue that the bank in question having a control of a very large percentage of customers or citizens. He considers this could be one of the ways out to avoid any challenge that could face a banking application that constitutes a very large percentage of banking transactions, and thus all citizens will be affected by the presence of a defect in this application, Al-Nayer reaffirmed the importance of this issue, so work must be done in the next stage to activate the benefit of the banking applications, thus reducing its negative effects that may affect the economy.

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