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‘Eastern Sudan reconstruction funds poorly allocated’: Beja Congress

November 25 - 2015 PORT SUDAN
Beja Congress members and friends protest against the government of Al Bashir in Manchester, England, 24 February 2012 (file photo)
Beja Congress members and friends protest against the government of Al Bashir in Manchester, England, 24 February 2012 (file photo)

A member of the Central Committee of the Beja Congress, Abdallah Mousa, has accused the Sudanese Government of resettling Budoun groups from Kuwait in eastern Sudan so as to change the demographic make-up of the region.

He also bemoans the way funds from the Eastern Sudan Reconstruction and Development Fund (ESRDF) are used.

In an interview with Radio Dabanga, Mousa, whose Beja Congress is part of the Eastern Front alliance of opposition forces, accuses the federal government of begging to make a living on behalf of the East, while the citizens of the region does not see any support coming to the East.”

Referring to the ESRDF, he said that the fund is being used to finance marginal projects that do not affect peoples’ lives. “This is even though famine is imminent in the rural areas and peripheries of cities in the eastern states.”

Musa asserts that “the government has taken a wrong decision by expelling the foreign organisations working in the region,” pointing out that those organisations were spread throughout the countryside and in administratively inaccessible places

 He said that the huge gap left by the exit of these organisations has not been filled. “The small and large scale industries in the East have stopped. This has increased the suffering of the citizens, just as the neglect of the Toker Delta and El Gash Delta.”

Mousa expressed sadness at the prevalence of human trafficking and crime in the East. He says that there are more than 30,000 families working in loading and handling in the Red Sea who face poverty and displacement and lost their jobs as a result of the entry of mechanisation in ports handling and loading works. The director general of the State Ministry of Social Affairs, Abdelaziz Saudi, said that his ministry has begun studying the social, economic and health effects on the families of the handling and loading workers.

* The Geneva-based Small Arms Survey reported in May that the ESRDF appears to have been systematically underfunded, while much of the funding it received has been allocated to national dam-building projects.

Last year, Port Sudan witnessed several protests by ex-combatants, calling for the full implementation of the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement (ESPA). A number of them, attempted to publicly commit suicide, because of the dire conditions they are living in.

According to a prominent Beja member and professor at the Faculty of Administrative Sciences of the University of Khartoum, the Fund, since it assumed its duties in 2007, has implemented only 20 percent of the projects in the region, while it has received millions of dollars from donors.


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