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Western Equatoria Government signed a deal worth $2.5 billion for infrastructure development in the state.

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The Western Equatoria State government and TODAF Engineering and Civil Works Limited on Tuesday signed a deal worth 2.5 billion United States dollars for infrastructure development in the state.

The agreement stipulates that TODAF Engineering and Civil Works Limited will harvest about 50 million trees for five years and build assorted infrastructure in the state.

The agreement was signed and witnessed by government officials in the State, local chiefs and elders, and youth and women representatives.

Last December, TODAF Engineering and Civil Works Limited signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Western Equatoria State for 2.5 Billion United States dollars for the construction of various infrastructure including roads, airports, schools, hospitals, water distribution systems, electricity, and more which would be paid by the state and national governments.

According to the Western Equatoria government, the national government reneged on the deal and asked the state government to foot the bill in its entirety.

The state government and TODAF Engineering and Civil Works Limited identified timber as a financial resource to fund the infrastructure development effort and signed the agreement with the involvement and consent of the local government officials, chiefs, elders, youth, and women, according to the state authorities.

Speaking to the media after signing the agreement, the managing director of TODAF, James Odaga, said the agreement, based on financial mobilization has paved a way forward for them to commence works within twenty-one days.

“Today we have entered a memorandum of understanding for mobilizing the funds for starting the project as we have signed. That is why we have promised that within 21 days we shall have some funds to start the work,” Odaga said.

He said they will start with the state parliament within three weeks and he promised to deliver quality work to the Communities of Western Equatoria State if they support the project.

“Our work started last year and the survey is still ongoing and we pray that God stands with us including the people of Western Equatoria State to support this project. When you want us to do the project without interruption we need support from the local and international entities.”

For his part, the Government of Western Equatoria State, Lt. Gen. Alfred Futuyo Karaba, said he is in the office to offer services to the communities and not his family.

“The resources of the state must be used for service delivery to the citizens and this is why I brought the chiefs, elders, women, and youth so that we see how we can use the money for building our state. When we finish building the state then we will stop the cutting of trees,” Gen. Futuyo said.

Richard Andrea, the chief of Rangu Payam of Yambio County, who spoke on behalf of the other chiefs who signed the agreement said that as traditional leaders, they appreciate the leadership of the State governor for assigning the TODAF to come and do the work in the state

“I appreciate the governor of the state. We know this is the government that will work with us based on how this work is going. According to our culture, when you have a wound, you can tear your cloth to tie it, but the previous leadership did not use people’s clothes to cover their wound. This time it is our duty as chiefs. So if you don’t understand what we have signed, never ask the governor, come to me and I will explain more,” Chief Andrea said.

The agreement was signed in presence of senior state officials, politicians, chiefs, women groups, youth, and elders.

Source: Radio Tamazuj 

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