Referendum: Dangling The Carrot Before Southern Sudanese

The Government of Southern Sudan and the Federal Government of Sudan have signed contracts for development projects aimed at making unity attractive ahead of next year’s referendum.

The signing ceremony of projects funded by the Unity Support Fund (USF) was held today at Nyakuron Cultural Centre in Juba and aims at swaying the vote for unity in the plebiscite scheduled for January 9, 2010.

Sudan’s Second Vice President Ali Osman Taha who led a huge delegation of 18 Ministers and five Governors from Khartoum to South Sudan was met by the First Vice President of the Republic and President of the Government of Southern Sudan General Salva Kiir Mayardit.

Kiir said the joint meeting in Juba could result into achieving some of the aspirations of the Sudanese people.

Taha who presented most of the issues said the joint meeting in Juba marks the beginning of the implementation of a number of development projects in South Sudan period preceding the referendum vote.

“The motive for the establishment of the Unity Support Fund is to counter long delays in foreign funding for construction and development in South Sudan. The Federal Government will be able to execute a number of new projects in South Sudan in the next six months”, said Taha.

Speaking during the ceremony, the Minister of Electricity and Dams Osama Abdallah said feasibility studies on four dam sites in South Sudan have been completed and said that the company that will be in charge of the construction of the project in the Bari land will be announced soon.

He said the dams are projected to generate 540 megawatts of electricity, enough to satisfy the electric power demands of the entire South Sudan.

“Works at the water station in Maridi have been completed and will be turned over to the Government of Southern Sudan soon”, he said.

Meanwhile, the Secretary-General of the Unity Support Fund Charles Majak Alier has reiterated the prioritisation of internal road construction projects in South Sudan.

He said the fund has successfully executed work on the road linking Renk and Malakal at a cost of 20 million Sudanese Pounds and the road connecting Kurmuk to Damazin in Southern Blue Nile State as well as a third road linking Abyei to Mayen Abon and on to Wau.

Majak said that work is in progress on rehabilitation of the railway line and river transport in addition to electricity network projects in Renk and Abyei.

“These projects are financed with local funding and support from the Government of National Unity, all to the tune of 114 million Sudanese Pounds. The Government of Southern Sudan also contributed 152 million Sudanese Pounds to the fund for the various projects”, he said.

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