Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Does HIlary Benn know what he's doing?

In May 2002, after the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and removal of the Taliban regime, a multilateral fund was set up by the World Bank called the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund. As you've probably guessed this fund existed for the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

According to the World Bank it has two primary purposes, first to "provide for the recurrent costs of the government, such as the salaries of teachers, health workers, civilian staff in ministries and provinces, operations, and maintenance expenditures; and bulk purchases of essential goods for the government. Second, it would support investment projects, capacity building, feasibility studies, technical assistance, and the return of expatriate Afghans".

By September last year, the 25 nations donating to the fund had pledged $1.7 billion of which $1.4 billion had been received. That's an awful lot of money that can probably help do an awful lot of things in Afghanistan. Given this it's not unreasonable to think the Government would want to let it been known how well the reconstruction projects are going, however, there is a problem, they don't actually know, and it would cost them too much to find out (do they not have Google?).

In response to a question from the shadow Foreign Secretary, William Hague yesterday about what large scale reconstruction projects have been completed in Afghanistan since 2002, the International Development Secretary, and Labour Deputy leadership hopeful Hilary Benn said, "[t]his information is not available and to obtain it would incur a disproportionate cost."

Isn't it good to know that the man responsible for dishing out aid in a country we have a military presence in knows what is happening with the cash?


Chris Paul said...

Dare I say it Dizzy my friend but this sounds like a complex multi-agency and multi-national effort and young Benn's answer is therefore more reasonable than this rubric normally is. 25 countries and who knows how many agents and contractors and NGOs. I wouldn't be arsed to collate the info on someone's else's timetable either. In time I'm sure the full facts will come tolight and you will climb down, or perhaps you'll not bother.

dizzy said...

In which case the answer should have said that Chris.

dizzy said...

Incidentally, this is our money we're talking about, and it would not cost more than the required £700 to do some research.

Oh yes, and I won't be climbing down, because I haven't climbed up anything. This is my blog, and these are my opinion. This is not some sort of personal party political platform for me and a career, it's my website, where I write what I want.

I consider the answer given outrageous. You can't tell me that after five years of pouring taxpayers money into something we have no reports on what it has been spent on. That's bollocks, and if it's true then the Government is incompetent for just handing money over and not reporting back on where it has been spent.

Oh yes, and just wait till its a Tory Government, because if I see the same bollocks going on I will say so.

AntiCitizenOne said...

There's a saying "if it doesn't get measured, it doesn't get done"

this implies that "it hasn't been measured, so it hasn't been done"