By Bida Elly David
The Vice President for Economic Cluster Dr. James Wani Igga has affirmed that the planned dredging project of the Nile was backed by the Council of Ministers in 2021 while the Jonglei Canal Project was paused for further deliberation and research.
Recently, authority in Unity State initiated the pavement and installation of dredging machines to pave pathway to Naam river but the initiative was paused as concerned citizens complained of the disadvantages they would incur as the rivers would contribute to hang-off plains that would leave Upper-Nile and Bahr-El-Ghazal dry and create damages to the environment.
In a statement seen by No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper, James Wani Igga, the Chair of the Economic Cluster disclosed that the dredging project was approved by the Cabinet, but only few Ministers opposed the proposal made last year for the establishment of the dredging project but the decision was passed by the leading majority.
“We in the Council of Ministers formerly in 2021 granted the commencement of the dredging project despite the fact that few hands of ministers were in opposition to support the concept note. The deliberation was done and passed as a resolution dredging should commence”.
Vice President reiterated that the dredging project intention of Bahr-El-Ghazal and Bahr-El-Jebel tributaries was once deliberated in 2006 by number of high level ministers.
“The issue of the dredging came in rise through series of meetings by the former government of Southern Sudan before independence and after approval, a memorandum of understanding was signed with the Arab Republic of Egypt,” he said.
Furthermore, Wani said that grudges over the use of the Nile water started earlier and it is not a calamity that recently arose.
He said that an accord was signed between Egypt and Britain concerning utilization waters of the Nile River where Britain stood of its representation in the River Nile Basin.
“The accord signed granted Egypt an annual water allocation of 48 billion cubic meters and Sudan 4 billion cubic meters out of an estimated average annual yield of 84 billion cubic meters,” he said.
Dr. Igga noted that last year, government of South Sudan and Egypt signed an agreement including a memo on a study to reduce the risk of flooding in the SUDD swamp in South Sudan.
However, Igga underscored that the resumption of the construction of Jonglei Canal has been withheld for further deliberation by the Council of Ministers, and the final debate will determine its success.
“The cabinet on the 20th September 2021 deliberated and resolved the go-ahead of the dredging of water in Bahr-El-Jebel and Bahr-El-Ghazel and I want to clarify to you that the construction of Jonglei canal has been put on hold for deliberation and the results of the debate will determine whether it will resume or not,” he stated.