New York- US (PANA) -- The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Sudanese gover nment on Thursday sealed a US$ 91 million programme to support the forthcoming g e neral elections in Sudan.
A UNDP statement, made available to the Pan African News Agency (PANA), said tha t the fund would help enhance the Sudanese National Eelection Commission's capac i ty in organising the elections, slated for April 2010.
It stated that, ``the programme will cover all the materials needed for the elec tions, including voting cards, ballot boxes, and educational campaigns for voter s , together with training sessions for election officers and local police''.
It also said that the UNDP would run the programme, which is funded by the gover nments of Italy, UK, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Spain, Japan, Netherlands, France a nd the European Commission.
Sudan's NEC Chairman, Abil Alier, said in the statement that the programme indic ated commitment of the international partners to support the electoral process i n the country.
``With the financial support, provided by the donors, the NEC can affirm its abi lity to organise free, fair and credible elections,'' he was quoted as saying.
The statement further noted that the NEC earlier estimated the total budget of t he elections at around US$ 1 billion.
However, it said that Sudan's general budget of 790 million Sudanese Dinars (abo ut US$ 330 million), which was endorsed on 17 November, 2009, was approved as a b udget for the general elections and the referendum on self-determination for sou t hern Sudan.
PANA learnt that the Sudanese government had earlier signed an agreement with th e US Agency for International Development (USAID), which will grant US$ 25 milli o n, as the first installment, in support of the electoral process.