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Should Pakistan Tell US Where to Shove its Aid?

"Aid only postpones the basic solutions to crucial development problems by tentatively ameliorating their manifestations without tackling their root causes. The structural, political, economic, etc. damage that it inflicts upon recipient countries is also enormous.” These words were written in a letter to UN to refuse aid by Finance Minister Berhane Abrehe of Eritrea which is the 7th poorest nation in the world.

Can Pakistan (per capita annual income of $3000) do what Eritrea (per capita annual income of less than $700) has already done with UN aid? Say "No" to foreign aid?



Pakistan Movement for Justice party leader and cricket hero Imran Khan thinks so. Echoing the sentiments of the Eritrean minister, Imran Khan told the BBC recently that "if we don't have aid we will be forced to make reforms and stand on our own feet."




Let's examine in a little more detail the proposition that Pakistan should tell the United States to take its aid and shove it:

1. Only $179.5 million out of $1.51 billion in U.S. civilian aid to Pakistan was actually disbursed in fiscal 2010, according to a report by the United States Government Accountability Office.

2. Even if the entire $1.51 billion had been disbursed, it would account for only $8.39 per person, about 0.28%, a very tiny fraction of Pakistanis' per capita income of $3000 a year.

3. Pakistan ended last fiscal year in June 2011 with a small current account surplus of about half a billion US dollars. It received inflows over $40 billion in the form of export earnings ($25 billion), remittances from Pakistani diaspora ($10 billion), and FDI, FII and other accounts. The actual US aid of just $179.5 million out of over $40 billion in 2010-2011 is a negligible figure.

4. Of the $179.5 million received by Pakistan in 2010, $75 million of the US aid funds were transferred to bolster the Benazir Income Support Program, a social development program run by the Pakistani government. Another $45 million was given to the Higher Education Commission to support "centers of excellence" at Pakistani universities; $19.5 million went to support Pakistan's Fulbright Scholarship program; $23.3 million went to flood relief; $1.2 billion remained unspent.



Although refusing US aid will hurt the anti-poverty efforts, higher education and infrastructure development programs to some extent unless made up by raising greater tax revenues to replace it, it is theoretically possible to say No to the US aid without a big negative short-term impact on Pakistan's economy.

However, Pakistan would be well advised to not seek confrontation with Washington even after refusing US aid. Why? The reason is simply that the United States is the architect and the unquestioned leader of the international order that emerged after the WW II and this system still remains largely intact. Not only is the US currency the main reserve and trade currency of the world, the US also dominates world institutions like the UN and its agencies, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

All foreign aid, regardless of its source, comes with strings attached. And those in Pakistan who think that China, undoubtedly a rapidly rising power, can replace US as a powerful friend in helping Pakistan now are deluding themselves. Today, China's power and influence in the world are not at all comparable to the dominant role of the United States. Chinese currency is neither a trade nor a reserve currency. Chinese themselves depended on the US agreement to be allowed to join the WTO after accepting terms essentially dictated by the United States in a bilateral agreement. Most of China's trade is still with the United States and its European allies. And the Chinese military power does not extend much beyond its region because it, unlike the United States, lacks the means to project it in other parts of the world.

Rather than alienate the United States and risk being subjected to international isolation and crippling sanctions like North Korea (a Chinese ally), Pakistanis must swallow their pride now and choose better ways of becoming more self-reliant in the long run.

Here are some of my recommendations for Pakistanis to move toward greater self-reliance:

1. They must all pay their fair share of taxes to reduce dependence on foreign aid and loans.

2. They must save more, a lot more than the current 10% of GDP, to have more money for investment in the future.

3. They must spend more on education and heath care and human development to develop the workforce for the 21st century.

4. They must invest in the necessary infrastructure in terms of energy, water, sanitation, communications, roads, ports, rail networks, etc, to enable serious industrial and trade development.

5. They must develop industries and offer higher value products and services for exports to earn the US dollars and Euros to buy what they need from the world without getting into debt as the Chinese have done.

No amount of empty rhetoric of the "ghairat brigade" can get Pakistanis to reclaim their pride unless they do the hard work as suggested above.

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Views: 268

Tags: Aid, China, Pakistan, USA

Comment by faaiz muhammad on September 29, 2011 at 1:29am

great things are said by great people. i really appreciate the insight of the writer to political games in pakistan. the information about the use of foreign aid is very useful as all the pakistanis are pondering over their ever increasing burden of foreign debts without any use and sight of them. more about these financial crimes and inequal distribution of foreign aid can be seen here as an eye opener for a normal man

 

 

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Comment by Riaz Haq on January 20, 2012 at 4:45pm

Here's a news story on US civilian aid to Pakistan:

In a written reply to a question raised at the daily press briefing, the State Department said, “Civilian assistance to Pakistan continues and has not been interrupted since the tragic Nov. 26 incident.”

“Since the passage of the Kerry-Lugar-Berman legislation in October 2009, the U.S. government has disbursed $2.2 billion in civilian assistance, including approximately $550 million in emergency humanitarian assistance,” said the statement, adding, “In FY 2011 specifically, we disbursed approximately $855 million (not including any emergency humanitarian assistance).”

With the majority of Pakistanis claiming they see no evidence of U.S. economic assistance, Washington still struggles to fashion an effective program of civilian aid. However, data provided by the U.S. State Department created a different impression.

“In 2011 the people of the United States supported the construction of 210 kilometers of road in FATA and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, funded the world’s largest Fulbright exchange program, and sponsored initiatives promoting private sector growth and civil society development in Pakistan,” said the statement.

http://gantdaily.com/2012/01/20/u-s-confirms-no-interruption-in-flo...

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 23, 2012 at 6:47pm

Here's an Asia Times piece on the importance of GCC Arabs to US power and US dollar:

There's no way to understand the larger-than-life United States-Iran psychodrama, the Western push for regime change in both Syria and Iran, and the trials and tribulations of the Arab Spring(s) - now mired in perpetual winter - without a close look at the fatal attraction between Washington and the GCC. [1]

GCC stands for Gulf Cooperation Council, the club of six wealthy Persian Gulf monarchies (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates - UAE), founded in 1981 and which in no time configured as the prime strategic US backyard for the invasions of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, for the long-drawn battle in the New Great Game in Eurasia, and also as the headquarters for "containing" Iran.

The US Fifth Fleet is stationed in Bahrain and Central Command's forward headquarters is based in Qatar; Centcom polices no less than 27 countries from the Horn of Africa to Central Asia - what the Pentagon until recently defined as "the arc of instability". In sum: the GCC is like a US aircraft carrier in the Gulf magnified to Star Trek proportions.

I prefer to refer to the GCC as the Gulf Counter-revolution Club - due to its sterling performance in suppressing democracy in the Arab world, even before Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire in Tunisia over a year ago.

Cueing to Orson Welles in Citizen Kane, the Rosebud inside the GCC is that the House of Saud sells its oil only in US dollars - thus the pre-eminence of the petrodollar - and in exchange benefits from massive, unconditional US military and political support. Moreover the Saudis prevent the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) - after all they're the world's largest oil producer - to price and sell oil in a basket of currencies. These rivers of petrodollars then flow into US equities and Treasury bonds.

For decades virtually the whole planet has been held hostage to this fatal attraction. Until now.

Gimme all your toys
-----------------
It's true that whoever dominates the GCC - with weapons and political support - projects power globally. The GCC has been absolutely key for US hegemony within what Immanuel Wallerstein defines as the world system.

Yet let's take a look at the numbers. Since last year Saudi Arabia is exporting more oil to China than to the US. This is part of an inexorable process of GCC energy and commodity exports moving to Asia.

By next year foreign assets held by the GCC could reach $3.8 trillion with oil at $70 a barrel. With all that non-stop "tension" in the Persian Gulf, there's no reason to believe oil will be below $100 in the foreseeable future. In this case GCC foreign assets could reach a staggering $5.7 trillion - that's 160% more than in pre-crisis 2008, and over $1 trillion more than China's foreign assets.

At the same time, China will be increasingly doing more business with the GCC. The GCC is increasingly importing more from Asia - although the top source of imports is still the European Union. Meanwhile, US-GCC trade is dropping. By 2025, China will be importing three times more oil from the GCC than the US. No wonder the House of Saud - to put it mildly - is terribly excited about Beijing.

So for the moment we have the pre-eminence of NATOGCC military, and USGCC geopolitically. But sooner rather than later Beijing may approach the House of Saud and quietly whisper, "Why don't you sell me your oil in yuan?" Just like China buying Iranian oil and gas with yuan. Petroyuan, anyone? Now that's an entirely new Star Trek.

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NA20Ak02.html

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 6, 2012 at 9:07am

"We do not require the (British) aid. It is a peanut in our total development spending," said Indian finance minister Mukherjee.

Refusal of British aid just confirms that India's ruling elite don't care for the poor in India who benefit from such aid. Their false pride trumps the needs of the poor.

And this is not the first Indian leaders have done so. In 2009, the Indian government banned the import of Plumpy'Nut nutrient bar by UNICEF to treat moderate to severe acute malnutrition rampant among Indian children. Defending the government action, Mr. Shreeranjan, the joint secretary of the Ministry of Women and Child Development, told the Reuters that "Nothing should come behind our back. Nothing should be done in the name of emergency when we have not declared an emergency."

Indian politicians do not allocate funds to replace foreign aid either, even as they embark on a massive arms build-up, becoming the world's largest importer of weapons in the process.

http://www.riazhaq.com/2010/03/malnutrition-challenge-in-india.html

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 13, 2012 at 8:41pm

US allocates $2.4 billion in aid for Pakistan in 2013, according to Express Tribune:

The White House has allocated $800 million for Pakistan’s Counterinsurgency Capability Fund (PCCF) in its budget for fiscal year 2013, whereas the State Department and USAID budget for Pakistan comes to $2.4 billion.

The budget, which will go to Congress for approval, shows a decrease of $50 million in the allocation figure for PCCF from last year. The purpose of the fund is to “build and maintain the counterinsurgency capability” of Pakistan’s security forces. The services provided by the US include human rights training, providing equipment, supplies, training and infrastructure repair.

The description of the PCCF stated in the budget documents released by the State Department state that the PCCF “enhances the capabilities of the Pakistan Army, the Pakistan Air Force, and the Frontier Corps by meeting their needs for training, equipment, and infrastructure. The PCCF will assist the Government of Pakistan to eliminate the violent extremists’ ability to operate along its border with Afghanistan. The PCCF account will draw down when the need for intensive support for engagement against terrorist organisations in Pakistan declines.”

State Department

In a press release issued by the State Department, the budget allocation requested for Pakistan for FY2013 is $2.4 billion. This includes the $800 million cited in the PCCF, and is meant for assistance to “strengthen democratic and civil institutions that provide a bulwark against extremism, and support joint security and counterterrorism efforts.

Certifications

The budget documents also outline certifications that the US secretary of State is required to make to various Congress committees before funds such as the Foreign Military Financing Program, PCCF etc. can be allocated.

According to the conditions, the Secretary must certify that Pakistan is cooperating with the US in counterterrorism efforts against the Quetta Shura, Haqqani Network, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Taiba, al Qaeda and other domestic and foreign terrorist organizations. Pakistan must not be supporting terrorist activities against the US or coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Interestingly, a condition includes that the Secretary of State must certify that, “Pakistan’s military and intelligence agencies are not intervening extra-judicially into political and judicial processes in Pakistan”

http://tribune.com.pk/story/336108/us-unveils-budget-with-trimmed-p...

Comment by Riaz Haq on March 10, 2012 at 7:38pm

Here are excepts of an Op Ed by Andrew Michell, British secretary of DFID, published in The News:

Over the last year, the UK has worked closely with Pakistan to deliver strong results, including supporting nearly half a million children in school; providing practical job training to more than 1,100 poor people in Punjab; providing microfinance loans to more than one hundred thousand people across Pakistan so they can start small businesses and lift their families out of poverty; and helping millions of people affected by the floods in 2010 and 2011.

Education is the single most important factor that can transform Pakistan’s future. With a population that is expected to increase by 50 per cent in less than forty years, it is worrying that half the country’s adults can’t read or write, and that more than a third of primary school aged children are not in school. That’s why the UK is committed to working in partnership with Pakistan to tackle its education emergency.

If educated, healthy and working, this burgeoning youth population will provide a demographic boost to drive Pakistan’s economic growth and unlock Pakistan’s potential on the global stage.

That’s why education is the UK’s top priority and why over the next four years, the UK will work in partnership with Pakistan to:

* support four million children in school;

* recruit and train 90,000 new teachers;

* provide more than six million text book sets; and

* construct or rebuild more than 43,000 classrooms.

Every full year of extra schooling across the population increases economic growth by up to one percentage point, as more people with better reading, writing, and maths skills enter the workforce.

The UK government is also working with Pakistan to empower and protect women and girls, to end violence against them and to help harness their talent and productivity. I welcome the legislation recently passed by Pakistan’s parliament that bans domestic violence, and congratulate Pakistan on its first Oscar for an outstanding film which throws the international spotlight on the horrific crime of acid attacks on women.

Other priorities for the UK include working with Pakistan to prevent 3,600 mothers dying in childbirth; enabling 500,000 couples to choose when and how many children they have; providing practical job training (such as car mechanics, cooks, weavers, carpenters, etc) to tens of thousands of people living in poverty; and enable millions of people, half of them women, to access financial services such as microfinance loans so they can earn more money and lift their families out of poverty.

The UK’s aid to Pakistan could potentially more than double, to become the UK’s largest recipient of aid. However this increase in UK aid is dependent on securing value for money and results, and linked to the Government of Pakistan’s own progress on reform at both the federal and provincial levels. This includes taking steps to build a more dynamic economy, strengthen the country’s tax base, and tackle corruption.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-97151-UK-and-Pakistan-partn...

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 1, 2012 at 9:37am

Here's an APP report on Japanese assistance to Pakistan:

Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan Hiroshi Oe on Sunday said "National Transmission Lines and Grid Stations Strengthening Project" of Japan worth Rs30 billion, will help Pakistan save electricity used in about 2 million average households.

In an interview with APP, he said Pak-Japan project, soon after its completion, will help Pakistan in overcoming its growing energy demand.

About the major projects initiated by the Japan government, he said that Japan has been a major contributor to the development of social sectors in Pakistan.

Japan's assistance to Pakistan has added up to 1.3 trillion yen (approx. 1.5 trillion rupees) since 1954, the ambassador said.

Japan has provided technical assistance to Pakistan by receiving trainees under the Colombo Plan and provided technical training or study opportunities to over five thousand Pakistanis in Japan, he added.

He said Japan has built up about 530 schools and 130 hospitals, clinics and provided medical equipment under various Japanese assistance programmes.

To a question, he said about 30 Japanese companies are operating in Pakistan including joint ventures with Pakistani companies related to automobiles, motorcycles and service industries such as constructors, IPPs, financial institutions and trading houses.

Considering the vast potentials in Pak-Japan bilateral relationship, he said there is much more work to be done, and therefore, he cannot be complacent about the current status of ties.

Highlighting the need to enhance the potential of manpower in Japan for Pakistani youth, he said trade opportunities with Japan must expand and interactions with Japan will surely provide vast opportunities to the youth of Pakistan.

To a question, he said Pakistan is an important partner in the area of parliamentarians' exchanges.

Both the countries have Japan-Pakistan friendship groups respectively, consisting of parliamentarians from each country, working to enhance their regular interactions.

In September 2011, when the Japanese Parliamentary League for Polio Eradication visited Pakistan, they discussed the need for promoting interactions between parliamentarians of the two countries during their meeting with Pakistani parliamentarians, he said.

The ambassador expressed his determination to make utmost efforts to further strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries, focusing on the promotion of parliamentarians' exchanges of our two countries.

About the Pak-Japan cultural ties, Hiroshi Oe said Japan Embassy holds cultural events such as Ikebana workshop and demonstration, children's art and speech competition and Japan film festival throughout the year across the Pakistan.

The ambassador said JICA has been helping National Institute of Science and Technological Education (NISTE) to train science teachers who will surely play a vital role in utilizing Japanese technology in Pakistan in the future.

He said that he visited Sialkot last year and found the world's top-class manufacturing industries there. He hoped that with proper quality control and marketing, Pakistan will develop even more industries of such standard.

The year 2012 is the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between Japan and Pakistan,the Ambassador added.

Hiroshi Oe emphasized on promoting human and cultural exchanges to deepen mutual understanding between the two countries and expressed wish to work with the Pakistani government to further deepen the bilateral cooperative relations.

http://www.brecorder.com/top-news/108-pakistan-top-news/51454-japan...

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 25, 2012 at 6:52pm

Here's a CSM story on US Aid in Pakistan:

USAID does not have any offices in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) but operates out of Peshawar, a settled area adjacent to the tribal areas. Officials here recognize the threats and say security is one of the biggest challenges to their aid work, so they've found a small way to work around it.

“It is the requirement of US government to brand its aid, but we are giving waivers to projects undertaken in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, because if they put up our logos etc, it can be life threatening,” says Mehdi Ali Khan, the communication specialist for USAID here.

Another official says USAID in Pakistan would prefer to be more transparent. Not only would it help to show that money is being put to good use, but it could build good will toward the US.

“We [would] like to get credit but it’s a complex situation. There is a war in Afghanistan. There are areas under conflict in Pakistan.... This is the reality,” he says wishing not to be named since he is not authorized to speak to the media. The official said USAID was putting up signboards that say the project is USAID funded in areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) in northwest Pakistan, but in areas like FATA, it just wasn’t possible.
----------
Violent anti-US sentiment among the public in the area has led many development organizations to decline to work with USAID altogether.

Muhammad Tahseen, who heads South Asia Partnership, a network of more than 1,000 nongovernment organizations all over Pakistan says that working with USAID can even be counterproductive to development.

Aid workers complain USAID money has a lot of strings attached that complicate their efforts. “We feel the aid has to do more with politics and not with development so we have refused to work with them,” Mr. Tahseen says.
------------
USAID has spent more than $2.6 billion dollars in the past two years. In 2011, USAID refined the strategy to focus assistance on economic growth, energy, education, health, and stabilization.

But Pakistani analysts feel that the US government has failed to change the perceptions of the public in Pakistan despite its huge commitments.

“The US had an opportunity in Pakistan. It could have engaged in a meaningful aid delivery program but it made aid subservient to foreign policy squabbles, and to military strategy in Af-Pak which fueled the public perception that US development assistance is a means to further its regional agenda,” says Raza Rumi, a leading columnist and a development consultant. “It is simply tragic that enormous amount of such aid gets squandered either through bad planning or making it hostage to political imperative.”

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-South-Central/2012/0425/Aid-to-...

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 30, 2012 at 8:42am

Here's an AFP story on EU aid to Pakistan:

Brussels on Monday announced a further 20 million euros in aid to victims of Pakistan's 2011 monsoon floods, as well as people displaced by conflict, bringing funding this year to 55 million euros.

While the world had responded with generosity to the country's devastating 2010 and 2011 floods, "we must not forget that millions of people are still struggling to recover, especially in the province of Sindh," said the EU's Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, Kristalina Georgieva.

Floods in Pakistan in the summer of 2011 affected 5.8 million people, with floodwaters killing livestock, destroying crops, homes and infrastructure as the nation struggled to recover from record floods the previous year. In Sindh province, three out of four households have insufficient food.

Meanwhile, conflicts linked to army raids against insurgents have left more than 300,000 people displaced in Khyber, Pakhtunkhwa province.

In 2011, the EU executive gave 94.9 million euros to Pakistan of emergency aid due to flooding, conflict and the needs of Afghan refugees in the country.

The European Union's total assistance to Pakistan -- including aid from the Commission and member states -- amounts to 2,458 billion euros for 2009-2013, or around a third of total annual development assistance to the country.

In a ground-breaking move in February, the World Trade Organization approved a waiver allowing 75 Pakistani products duty free access to European markets for two years to help textile exports after devastating floods in 2010.

The EU is Pakistan's largest trading partner, receiving almost 30 percent of its exports -- worth almost 3 billion euros ($3.9 billion).

Pakistan's trade with the EU consists mainly of textiles, which account for more than 70 percent of its exports to European countries.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5h7Y5nTEKB19m9VBw...

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 15, 2012 at 9:23pm

Here's a Daily Times report on US aid to Pakistan:

United States Agency for International Development (USAID) disbursed to Pakistan over $2.6 billion in economic, energy, health, education and infrastructure projects under Kerry-Lugar-Berman (KLB) Bill.

“The main emphasis of USAID assistance was on energy production, economic growth, agriculture improvement, education, health and infrastructure projects in the country,” USAID Acting Country Director Karen Freeman told newsmen Friday after function at National Institute of Health here.

“US wants prosperous, secure, stable Pakistan with improvement in all basic needs of life available to people at grassroots level. All USAID funded projects are on track,” she said adding besides producing 400 megawatts (MW) through new projects, assistance is being provided for improving existing energy projects.

She said US government through USAID provided assistance to help strengthen energy sector, enhance economic and educational opportunities available to Pakistanis, improve health care services and meet critical infrastructure needs in remote mountain areas. It also provided substantial relief, recovery assistance, such as when floods devastated the country in year 2010.

Earlier, addressing certificate distribution ceremony of disease control and prevention program, she said outbreak of infection diseases, malaria, tuberculosis, hepatitis threaten well being of entire society. Doctors training will improve their skill to face this challenge. Strong disease surveillance, analysis, control systems are imperative so that infectious diseases are stopped.

Freeman said 31 Pakistani medical officials completed four week training from intensive US funded training program in basic epidemiology designed to strengthen detection, surveillance, analysis of infectious disease at district, provincial level. Program seeks to improve public health, disease control by building capacity in epidemiology, public health surveillance and response, public health laboratories, information systems for disease surveillance. USAID provided $6.78 million for this program since year 2006.

Since inception USAID health program trained 11,000 health care providers, provided 126 ambulances, upgraded 89 community healthcare facilities. In 2010 USAID helped restore 150 schools, trained over 600 teachers in Malakand. USAID offered training in finance to 19,000 women business owners in Punjab, Sindh provinces in 2010. As part of flood relief efforts USAID established 190 mobile health clinics, helped provide safe drinking water to over 1.5 million people daily.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\06\16\story_16-6-2012_pg5_10

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