Saturday, 9th March 2013
BRITAIN RESTRUCTURING FOREIGN AID TO ERADICATE CORRUPTION – Are we at last seeing some type of sense from our government regarding Foreign Aid?
For decades successive governments have pour billions of pounds into third world countries that are run by dictators and highly corrupt official; were little of the funds ever reach its intended purpose.
It has now been announced by the International Development Secretary Justine Greening, that Foreign Aid is to be diverted through British companies. The idea is that British firms will use the money to win infrastructure contracts that will directly benefit the poorest of economies such as Africa, Latin America and Asia.
Last year the government handed out over £11 billion in international development aid. How much of this actually went into the proposed projects is unlikely to ever be known but this change in government tactic is a clear indication that billions have been wasted and many taxpayers feel that this money could have been used to better effect within the UK.
It wasn’t that long ago that David Cameron was asked by a very distraught lady, on the radio, why she couldn’t get proper cancer treatment while the government squanders billions in foreign aid. The answer, many felt including myself, was a lame one;
“If we stop foreign aid to countries such as Pakistan, then immigration would become a bigger issue as these poor people, without this help, would flock to the UK and become a burden on our welfare system.” David Cameron, Prime Minister
It was probably the hollowest excuse for wasting billions I have ever heard. If the government took direction action over our Borders then this would not be a problem.
Foreign Aid is not simply about helping a country to dig itself out of poverty it is also tied with international diplomacy that creates close ties that could be good for British businesses in the long term and for me it’s a shame that our government is unwilling to disclose full information to the public on the real reasons for foreign aid.
“I want to see British business joining the development push with the Department for International Development. We all have a huge opportunity to help build up responsible trade with the emerging economies of developing countries.” Miss Greening
No doubt Miss Greening’s statement will spark a glimmer of hope that the government at last will start to get value for money, however if they honestly think this measure will curb corruptible practices by third world governments then they are either extremely naive or they are in fact equally as corrupt.
If British businesses are going to be competing for third or developing world countries government contracts, which appears clear to be the case when we are talking about infrastructure, then it is a foregone conclusion that corrupt payments are going to be made to government officials in order to secure government contracts.
How bad is corruption in third and developing countries? You only have to look at a country such as Thailand, which is an emerging economy. It is very well documented that over 50% of the finances allocated to government contracts is taken up in graft.
While I do believe that there is a huge opportunity for the development of trade partnering with the emerging economies I still feel that the foreign aid budget is hugely wasteful and unless the government can monitor this with an independent body, made up of people who are not corruption and will report the truth to the British people, then the huge leakage of taxpayers’ money will continue to blight the very reasons foreign aid is provided.