National Youth Council: Press Statement on the Dissastifaction of the Youth with the Implementation Mode of the Parish Development Model (15.06.2022)

A Trillion Shillings to the PDM is a waste of public expenditure from the get-go…

The Parish Development Model (PDM) which was launched recently is following the patterns of other micro-finance schemes that the Government of Uganda has started. The public shouldn’t expect to much from this, because the state doesn’t have a history of ensuring it and they are just throwing money at the wall… and hoping sooner or later that something sticks. Nevertheless, that has never been the case.

The PDM is a new breed of the Emyooga, NAADs, SACCOs and all the other methods that haven’t brought people out of poverty. It is a “get-rich-quick-scheme” which is bound to fail. That’s said for a simple reason, the state is never studying the failures of the previous schemes before launching another one. Therefore, I don’t believe the PDM will do anything.

If you remember “Operation Wealth Creation” and all the other ones are only made for the fellas and the cronies of the state. This will be no difference and now the state plans to spend a trillion shillings on it. They are willing to wage these funds on a gamble.

Just read these quotes from the recent Parliament report!

In FY2021/22, UGX 200 billion was appropriated towards preparatory activities for the phased implementation of the PDM. These funds were able to support key activities like the establishment of the PDM Secretariat, recruitment of 6,000 Parish Chiefs – the posts filled so far are 9,847 (93%);

popularization of the Parish Development Model; development of PDM guidelines and manuals for the seven pillars, among others. Furthermore, Parliament under Supplementary Schedule No. 1 for FY 2021/22, approved additional funding for PDM as follows: UGX 3 billion-Mindset Change and Community Development activities under MoGLSD; UGX 29.3 billion-operationalize the recently created sub-counties and town councils; UGX 20.98 billion-to increase Parish Revolving Funds to UGX 17 million per parish; UGX 6.6 billion for establishment of Parish SACCOs countrywide; and

UGX 3.96 billion to operationalize the PDM Secretariat” (REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON BUDGET ON THE ANNUAL BUDGET ESTTMATES FOR FY 2O22/23, May 2022).

Rt. Hon. Speaker and Hon. Members, in the FY2022/23, UGX 100 million per Parish have been earmarked under the Parish Revolving Fund, translating to UGX 1.059 trillion. These funds are a capitalization grant to the PDM SACCOs, which will be used for the sole purpose of lending to viable income generating activities in the Production, Processing, Marketing and Storage of agricultural products” (REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON BUDGET ON THE ANNUAL BUDGET ESTTMATES FOR FY 2O22/23, May 2022).

So, we are seeing that state wants to ramp up their investments into the PDM. As they only started in the last financial year with certain amount of expenditure. It would be very unique if the PDM actually did deliver something substantial or game-changing in all aspects.

The PDM is bound to fail and become a wasteland of government spending. There is nothing in the cards or in the report to say otherwise. No, it is just a continuation of other similar schemes, which is money for the boys and the close associates of the state. This here isn’t built to last and is a hack-work. That’s why the funding and the sort of operations is half-assed and without any proper mandate. Neither is it bound by protocol or a direct policy. It is just made for being a place of reckless spending and without proper accountability.

The previous reports on the OWC and PDM haven’t been favourable either. The ones from certain districts of the PDM shows that. Therefore, this will only end in tears and they are spending a trillion on it too. Peace.

Opinion: “Pastor” Kasolo’s prosperity gospel … Part II

Spend only when you must. I teach you this so that you save. Saving is the major point. For anyone to become rich, you must have a business that gives you money every day. If you are a man or woman, and you wake up to do nothing, I don’t what to call you. Every human being must save money every day. Even beggars on the streets earn money every day, but for you, you are not earning anything. Vend sugarcanes or fry chapati, but to get out of poverty, you must have a business that earns you money every day. Other than that, you are off track” – State Minister for Microfinance Haruna Kyeyune Kasolo (Kenneth Kazibwe – ‘Spend less, save every day, you will soon become rich- advises Minister Kasolo’ 30.04.2022, NilePost)

Yet again, the Minister and Prosperity Gospel provider, the reverend of promising wealth, Haruna Kasolo has returned. Because the end goal in life is to get wealthy, rich and living large. Not living within our means or having stability. No, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) cannot ensure or secure social security. Neither can the NRM ensure policies or markets of which is stable enough for businesses to thrive in. That’s why the prosperity gospel is sickening.

The NRM and Kasolo’s party has soon had 4 decades in power. Nevertheless, there isn’t any growth or possible change, which is significant. The public isn’t the GDP growth, but they are eating accordingly to their pocket. The NRM has created a gig economy and a get-quick-rich schemes as state programmes, which I can promise you will not last. It isn’t far from a pyramid-schemes to the Operation Wealth Creation, neither is it far to Emyooga or the Paris Development Model. The state is just giving short-sighted monetary programmes without the institutions or the markets for the public to trade. There isn’t a natural growth and neither is there a framework to make it possible.

The NRM is artificially funding small pockets of society and without a long-term plan. There is only incentives and programmes, which is made within the road-maps of elections, but not having protocol or ideals on how to implement. That’s why today’s message is insincere.

Yes, savings are good and people should save money. They should be able to pocket and have money for rainy-days. As every day isn’t sunny and the sun doesn’t always shine. However, when you live on gigs, hands-to-mouth and barely scraping by. Its a lot to ask… those people to save and able to put money away. When they are not having enough food for electricity, airtime or food for that matter. It is really showing the hubris and lack of code, as the poor cannot save, because they are already prioritizing what they have and spending it as they see fit. To ensure their basics is met and needs of their loved ones.

As he continues:

Salary earners who don’t have daily income generating activity always forms long lines at the bank to withdraw money at the end of the month. They are badly off. A salary can never make you rich. A person’s wealth is determined by their daily saving. So, if you don’t have a business that earns you money every day, after here, go and start it. Stay home women, make sure you have a project at home that earns you money every day” (Kasolo, 30.04.2022).

This MP and Minister has clearly forgotten the plights of the citizens and poverty. It is not like these has the time or ability to start a business. Families with kids, housing and rent to pay, rampant inflations and lacking concern to the devalued salaries in comparison to the prices on necessities, which is growing by the day.

The ones that is living on salary and has a stable job. As long as that is paid out on time can ensure some stability and give a person the ability to get by. Plenty of people don’t want to be rich, but just live and be content. Salary can also be a result of the education and the profession a person has. Therefore, the Minister is forgetting how people are earning money as civil servants and government workers. Everyone cannot be farmers and wait for the prices from traders buying their produce. Neither can everyone have a hobby or a plot where they can grow a cash-crop. Therefore, the Minister should be sincere about this.

His speaking like there is a middle class and people can afford to save money. That everyone has the dream and the vision of getting wealthy. Most people want a house, food security and have a good life with family. That is more enriching that fat pockets and lack of integrity. Alas, that is why the Minister has become a Prosperity Gospel peddler and not an honest politician. The Minister has spread this message for at least two years now. Last time I commented on it was in 2020. So, this is his stick… Peace.

The Gold Refinery in Entebbe get sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury [which is the African Gold Refinery]

gold is gold, and they simply need gold” – Gold Smugglers (UN, 2020, P: 19).

Today on the 17th March 2022 the U.S. Treasury has sanctioned the African Gold Refinery and Alain Goetz. This is hitting the Government of Uganda (GoU) which has been proud of this refinery. They are directly hitting the profitability and ability to trade. As the AGR will be blacklisted and possibly make it harder sell it’s gold.

In the U.S. Treasury statement today, it said this:

Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), sanctioned Alain Goetz, the African Gold Refinery in Uganda, and a network of companies involved in the illicit movement of gold valued at hundreds of millions of dollars per year from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The illicit movement of gold provides revenue to armed groups that threaten the peace, security, and stability of the DRC. Today’s action was taken pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13413, as amended by E.O. 13671, which targets, among other things, individuals and entities involved in activities that threaten the peace, security, or stability of the DRC or that undermine democratic processes or institutions in the DRC. Our action demonstrates the U.S. commitment to disrupt the illicit mineral trade and encourage mining sector transparency” (U.S. Treasury – ‘ Treasury Sanctions Alain Goetz and a Network of Companies Involved in the Illicit Gold Trade’ 17.03.2022).

Where it further states:

Since 2016, AGR has sourced illicit gold from mines in regions of DRC that are controlled by armed groups, including the Mai-Mai Yakutumba and Raia Mutomboki that are involved in destabilizing activities in South Kivu, DRC. AGR has a refining capacity of 219 tons per year and is considered one of the largest gold refineries in Africa, after refineries in South Africa and Ghana. AGR and Goetz acknowledged that a share of the gold AGR refines comes directly from mines in the DRC and has taken over a significant portion of the market for gold trafficked from the DRC” (U.S. Treasury – ‘ Treasury Sanctions Alain Goetz and a Network of Companies Involved in the Illicit Gold Trade’ 17.03.2022).

The U.S. Treasury isn’t taking this information from nowhere. This has been recorded and proven through United Nations Experts reports over the years. The Entebbe Gold Refinery has been tracked and so has all the illicit minerals, which has gotten to it. It has been taken from conflicts and been a valuable commodity for the militias inside the Democratic Republic of Congo, which trough various of channels has traded it with the AGR. Who again has sold it to the world market.

Back in 2020, there was further proof of how it was operated as:

““The Group established that, on 9 February 2018, African Gold Refinery Ltd sold its shares to AGR International Ltd, a company registered in the Seychelles at Global Gateway, 8 rue de la Perle, Providence, Mahe, Seychelles (see screenshot below). The Group wrote to the authorities of the Seychelles, who confirmed that AGR International Ltd was registered in the Seychelles at the address listed in the Uganda Registration Services Bureau documents” (UN, 2020, P: 107).

So, this corporation will have international implications. It will not only go after Goetz or AGR. This will go even further with time. A Belgian report on the Refinery in 2019 said this:

Sources in government refer to a speech by the Ugandan president at the ceremonial opening of AGR in 2017. Museveni then said that government agencies opposing the refinery would be ‘tackled hard’. ‘Goetz feels unassailable. And not without reason. He clearly has the protection of President Museveni himself’, says investigative journalist Haggai Matsiko of the Ugandan monthly The Independent. ‘Goetz has put a lot of money into its project (AGR says it has already invested $40 million, ed.). The president seems convinced that the refinery adds economic value by turning Entebbe and Kampala into a gold hub.’” (Kasper Goethals – ‘‘Gold is a dirty business, even if I do say so myself’ 20.04.2019, De Standaard).

With this in mind, this is a major blow to the wishes of President Museveni. The U.S. is sanctioning it and setting a precedence of which makes transactions with it questionable. Yes, at this moment it is about trading and association with U.S. businesses and citizens. Alas, the AGR is a prestigious part of the gold adventure Museveni wanted to have.

Let us not forget the June 2017 Global Witness Report “Under-Mined” on the AGR, which stated this:

African Gold Refinery is run by a small group of Belgian and Ugandan businessmen, including former government minister Richard Kaijuka, who are managing to ship hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of gold out of Uganda without disclosing its origin and paying very little tax in the process. They are the owners and managers of a newly built gold refinery on the shores of Lake Edward near Entebbe airport. Remarkably, Barnabas Taremwa: brother-in-law to Salim Saleh, Museveni’s most famous brother and Uganda’s de facto number two, told Global Witness that he had helped negotiate the company’s huge tax breaks with the government (corroborated by documents seen by Global Witness) and set up supply routes for the refinery” (Global Witness, P: 27, 2017).

““Alain Goetz, who is also the CEO of the company, a Belgian national, is one of the most famous dealers of Congolese gold in recent history. During the 90s the Alain and his father Tony, who died in 2005, were reported as dominating gold exports from the Congo through their networks to Belgium and later Dubai” (…) “Mr Barnabas Taremwa, who previously worked for AGR is the brother in law of Salim Saleh, the President’s brother. AGR told Global Witness in a letter dated January 2017 that Taremwa’s sister and Salim Saleh had divorced three years ago, seemingly in an attempt to distance themselves from the General. However, Salim Saleh told Global Witness that “Barnabas Taremwa is still my brother in law and it is false and an insult to me for you to state that I divorced his sister.” (…) “Richard Henry Kaijuka is the Chairman of AGR.160 According to an article in Africa Energy in June 2011, Mr Kaijuka is “a childhood friend of President Yoweri Museveni, who fell out with the regime after he opposed a controversial constitutional amendment in 2005 that removed presidential term limits.” (Global Witness, P: 73, 2017).

So, if you know all of this. You know the AGR is hitting home. This will hit the State House and the Presidency. Not only the pride of selling illicit minerals from militias in the DRC. No, he will not earn profit on the tears and suffering of the DRC anymore. At least not at the same scale or have the possibility of trading it to the United States. This is a proof of the possible damage it can do. This is million of dollars of exports that can be hit by this sanction. Because, AGR is a tainted business…

That is the truth here and it is about time. Reports about it from it’s inception should have been the warning sign. Yes, the official date was back in 2017, but it was operating from 2014. So, there been lost years and the AGR haven’t really complied with proof of where the gold came from and therefore, this is well deserved. Finally, a place which is a hot-spot for conflict minerals get hit with sanctions. Peace.

Opinion: The Movement’s endless Money-Making Schemes

The National Resistance Movement (NRM) have endlessly created money-making schemes over the years. The Parish Development Model (PDM) is nothing new, but a configuration of previous efforts. This being the Emyooga, SACCOs, NAADs, Youth Livelihood Programme, Micro-Loan Programmes, Rural Micro Finance Project, Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) or anything else you can spell out. Heck, we should not forget the Entandikwa either.

There been so many of these and ways of which the citizen should become prosperous, but that never happens and the results are there after. It is like recycling of a bad trickle-down economics and weak mechanisms, which isn’t the benefiting the citizens or participants. They are buying into a dream, but doesn’t have the resources or market to get the execution. It is always in the reports lack of implementation and education on the matter. However, that is the system, which was never prepared or had the framework to actually work. It is like it was more important of the government to spend the funds, but not actually see any real progress or development. Since, the donors and the providers of funds just needed them to spent on any given Sunday.

The NRM has promised a middle-income country, but never seems to get there. These sorts of monetary deals is a reflection of that. Since they are going back to basics and using the same means to lift people out of poverty. There is no game-changer or progression. It is easy transactional bids to small-investors to either borrow or get short-term relief, which will not be substantial or subpar. Which in the end has to be repaid and restructured, either as a group or a profession to cash-generating income to start.

That’s why these things doesn’t sufficiently work. As there are no steady income or ability to get revenue. It is a short-term patching up the damage and the possible costs of early operation of any sort of business, but nothing to actually run these businesses and cover the expenses of actually operating. The same lack of investment is in the projects and the ones who is supposed to have oversight. It is patchwork with ministries, office of the Prime Minister or Gen. Salim Selah. Who knows really, but it isn’t with proper protocol or direction. Neither a long-term game-plan.

That’s why the Operation Wealth Creation went to Emooyga and now the PDM is the new kid on the block. While NAADs and SACCOs are still vital enterprises and means of money lending practices to the public at large. As they have to comply with the regulations of these, but vehicles in addition is the OWC, Emyooga and the PDM. However, these are all launched without any sort of proper check of accountability or even results, which could give insights to what worked and what failed. That is only in small sentences in the Auditor General reports and partly investigations into a few districts. The whole operation and spending spree has never been assessed. Therefore, God knows how things went or if it was a wasteland of government expenses on a shallow project.

This is why I don’t have faith in the PDM. There has been no real proof that OWC was working and none has really looked into Emyooga. The SACCOs and NAADs haven’t improved the Republic substantially either. It is like the state is going in-circles and hopes that nobody notices. While the high ranking officials has means to an end. Where they can trick the accounts and transfers for own gains or for campaigns of any sorts. Since there will be no oversight or accountability on the matter. It will only be partial and not a whole picture. As the realities would be to dire to describe.

It must be a reason why the state doesn’t look into or even tries to study the previous programmes. As it is busy launching new programmes to succeed the next. The only difference is the name and who is in-charge. The rest is repeating the sins of the past and hoping someone will forgive them. Peace.

Uganda: Vice President lauds Gen. Saleh, rallies leaders to fight poverty (21.12.2021)

Opinion: Two Emyooga reports says what we already knew

There are no coordinated guidelines put in place for effective management of Emyooga program” (STATUS REPORT ON EMYOOGA SAVINGAND CREDIT COOPERATIVE SOCIETIES IN THE RWENZORI REGION, August 2021).

There is really a lack of character, implementation and plans for policies like Emyooga. It is a half-assed project to be unleashed ahead of elections and a new money-making schemes. Before they have even evaluation any of the older ones, which haven’t ended either.

The Emyooga is using “micro-finance” as a trick to create development. However, there is little proof of results or getting value out of it. Both reports states this in different manner. The report from Rwenzori region is much more direct and the report from Lango Sub-Region is more diplomatic. Nevertheless, the reports themselves states what we all knew.

That’s why I am taking the quotes that says it all and shows what the Emyooga programme is lacking. We knew this was a re-launch and rebranding of older government schemes. Even if it is so… the state doesn’t know how to monitor, organize or even aim at the development goals, which it is supposed to deliver. That’s the tragic thing here… as it is a waste of public resources and tax money. The state isn’t serving the public and their needs, but instead has a public relations with these sorts of government programme.

The SACCO funds should be placed under the responsibility of the CAO such that there is better accountability. The RDCs can play the monitoring role” (…) “Communication on Emyooga programme needs to be streamlined to ensure that the information received is clear and implementation uniform across the SACCOs and districts” (PARLIAMENTARY REPORT

EMYOOGA PROGRAMME LANGO SUB REGION, August 2021).

It is equally important to note that for many decades, the Government has made attempts to reach the common person through programs like ENTANDIKWA among others but the mode and manner of implementation has always failed the desired goals and the EMYOOGA is no exception and needs very quick remedial interventions to avert another wastage of tax payers

money” (STATUS REPORT ON EMYOOGA SAVINGAND CREDIT COOPERATIVE SOCIETIES IN THE RWENZORI REGION, August 2021).

What the reports are saying is very clear. There is a need to organize it better, which means that state officials or appointments should get mandates over Emyooga. These two reports are only from two regions, but I wouldn’t shock if we got similar results from elsewhere. This shows that the programme isn’t properly working and neither done correctly. If it was implemented and with due diligence … the ones that the Emyooga is targeting would actually get the help.

However, the Emyooga is more a vanity project more than actually doing anything sincere. This is winging state programs and not planning how to do it. That is the tragedy here and it is just a waste. A government scheme… not made to deliver but prosper for someone else. Peace.

Opinion: The FDC is right on the money

“Last week, Mr. Museveni met with NRM MPs at Kololo and asked them to support distribution of one trillion shillings to the population. Cash distribution centres are going to be set up at parish levels. This is what Museveni has termed as Parish Model” (Forum for Democratic Change, 23.08.2021).

The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) in their weekly media brief on this very day the 23rd August 2021. The FDC has stated a mere fact, which should be resound wide and clear. The party have understood and is speaking facts, which deserves to be credited. Since, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) and all their benefactors will only praise this commitment to the Parish Model of Micro-Finance Programme.

The FDC states this: “Each parish regardless of the population and economic activity will receive equal amount when the promised trillion is provided. For example Kireka in Kira Municipality with 200,000 people will be given Shs 100 million each financial year. According to National Bureau of Statistics, a parish in Uganda is 800 people. The FDC would like to warn NRM MPs and Parliament in general against risking taxpayers’ money again in unplanned ventures. The country has not recovered from Emyoga fraud which Museveni entrusted with his RDCs.  Parliament budgeted for Shs 250 billion for Emyoga and this money cannot be accounted for. Its effect on the population is not there” (Forum for Democratic Change, 23.08.2021).

This here is a very vital information and says it all about the scheme itself. As there is already a lack of accountability for the former or latter, which was the Emyoga. There been plenty of scandals and lack of transparency in the efforts of the state. This is not new or significant in this matter but says a lot about the will to start new projects. Before you have ended or shown any proof of where the other funds went. That just shows how these sorts of enterprises are schemes and not real legit programmes for the people to get help or be entertained at all. Just a matter of fancy accounting and finding measures to get rich behind the scenes.

About Salim they say:

“At Kololo the same Museveni who has been praising Operation Wealth Creation led by his brother Gen. Caleb Akandwanaho, said it has not benefited the population. In fact, if you read Minister Matia Kasaija statement to Parliament delivered in April this year, government wants Operation Wealth Creation phased out.  Kasaija proposed that Shs 200 billion meant for OWC be diverted to finance Emyoga” (Forum for Democratic Change, 23.08.2021).

We know that is something is up here… when the Parliament Report on OWC says the program haven’t delivered or not even up to standard even. The OWC is a sham and a front, making Gen. Salim Selah, the brother of the President wealthy and have his own “detail” within the government and under the office of the Prime Minister (OPM). That is just a mere fact and the FDC doesn’t shun away from that.

It is just striking that more people haven’t questioned this and the use of public funds this way. When there is no proof of the other schemes are working. Just like all these years with all the seemingly similar schemes but it never amounts to anything. Only benefiting a few chosen few and nobody else. That is how it looks like and with the Parish Model the same results will appear with time. This is something I can reassure you and only a little elite will eat of this plate.

That’s why the President promotes it and he know the game. Because, this is a game he has played since the beginning of his reign. Plotting and scheming to get ahead, while hoping that other people are coving the bills. Peace.

Opinion: The entitlement of 1986 Brigade continues with Col. Barija

Yesterday Colonel Charles Barija who sent a letter to the authorities after he was retired this week. The commander and solider has been loyal to the President Museveni since participating in FRONASA. This is why Col. Barija feels entitled for more.

The colonel wants to be upgraded to a Brigadier General so that he doesn’t have to use boda-boda to get home. He feels he deserves the perks of a retirement with a bigger title. Since he has participated in vital parts of the struggle of the National Resistance Army (NRA). Where he has been stationed and been in battles of significance. This is why he should drive an SUV and have more lavish lifestyle now.

He also feels entitled for being a D Coy under Bazilio Olara-Okello and being the escort of Museveni when he was the Vice Chairman in the Military Commission before the 1980 election. The colonel also claims that he rescued the first family at one point.

While he also was hurt and damaged by the bush-war. After that he still was conscripted and part of the army. That’s why he fought in South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and other conflicts too.

All because of this… he deserves better and should get a better life in retirement. Col. Barija clearly feels this way and that’s nothing new. The 86 Generation of the NRA feels this way. They are above the law and can do whatever they feel. These are the “we fought” people and that’s why they should be praised and get the monies.

Nobody should be shocked that he don’t want to be another civilian taking a boda-boda home. He feels he should have a nice car and have a better lifestyle. This because of all the things he did while being loyal to the cause and the President. Since he has been there all along and been associated with them.

This is why he wrote the letter. It shows that some people are “above” and he feels like that. The colonel can act like this and it’s not revolutionary, but shows the heart of this men. They fought for themselves and their pockets. Peace.

A very brief look into the recent appointments of Permanent Secretaries

Yesterday, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has had his little reshuffle of Permanent Secretaries to the Ministries and Offices of the State. There wasn’t much juice to see. It wasn’t like he offered yet another Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) leader or stalwart to a position. No, Museveni just did more of the same.

Plenty of the secretaries retained their roles and continues to be “permanent”. This being Lucky Nakoybe and Dr. Kenneth Omona who is kept in the same office. Someone who is lucky and in good favours of the state is Keith Muhakanizi who went from the Minister of Finance to the Office of the Prime Minister.

The appointment of Dr. Ramathan Ngobi, the aide of Salim Selah, the brother of the President has been appointed to be the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED). A clear indication of how family affairs mattes and this is why Muhakanizi was moved to another office.

The one that sent a begging letter recently to the President after losing in the election and not being appointed to a Ministry. The forever in the public eye, Adolf Mwesige was appointed as a Permanent Secretary as a Clerk in Parliament. So, the President has him still in his good favours, as he knows he will be loyal for yet another appointment.

All of the President’s appointments are more of the same. These are just the few I see worth mentioning. Museveni is recycling most of the same people. Just a few new faces, but these are known for the general public.

The NRM doesn’t change and neither does the President. This is just more of the same. It is just some changing chairs, but not appointing more qualified or better equipped people. No, these are hired after loyalty and not after merit. That’s why these folks continues to get retained and work like they do. Peace.

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