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US should delay $7.5bn assistance to Pak for "ultimate effectiveness" of aid: Report

Washington , Thu, 02 Jun 2011 ANI

Washington, June 2(ANI): The United States should delay much of its 7.5-billion-dollar assistance package to Pakistan, especially in sectors where it has committed to disbursing its aid "funding primarily through government channels," a new report has recommended.


The Center for Global Development report, "Beyond Bullets and Bombs: Fixing the U.S. Approach to Development in Pakistan", comes as more US lawmakers question aid to Islamabad following the discovery and killing of al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden by US troops in Pakistan's garrison town of Abbottabad.


The report raised concerns that aid spending could make it too easy for Pakistan's own policymakers to put off tough decisions.


"By funding Band-Aid fixes that delay outright crisis and make it easier to avoid necessary but difficult solutions, even well-implemented aid can delay enduring solutions to Pakistan's most serious problems. To the extent that Pakistani leaders expect and assume disbursement of aid, it makes sense for them to push for that money rather than to work with their political rivals to move on key reforms," the report said.


"For these reasons, we recommend that much of the $7.5 billion Kerry-Lugar-Berman aid package not be disbursed immediately. Especially in sectors where serious flaws in public administration are the binding constraints to success, it would be better to backload the bulk of this extraordinary aid investment, to wait until critical policy questions are resolved," it added.


The report also stated that this caution is most advisable in sectors where the US has committed to disbursing its aid funding primarily through government channels.


It acknowledged that the so-called conditionality in aid spending is an extremely sensitive subject, carrying the implication that donors are using the threat of withholding aid as a stick to force their desired outcomes in Pakistani political debates.


However, "that is not the intent of our proposal," the report said. "In fact, we are highly cognizant of the fact that aid does not buy leverage over domestic policies-even if that were its aim. Rather, we believe that the pure act of delaying disbursement in certain sectors will benefit both the Pakistani reform process and the ultimate effectiveness of US aid." (ANI)


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