This SCANDALOUS waste of our foreign aid cash has to stop..
IF you were trying to find a way to crash, in one fell swoop, the entire edifice of both the honours system and the scandal of foreign aid waste, you could do no better than to award a knighthood to Mark Lowcock.
As the top bureaucrat at DfID, Sir Mark is ultimately responsible for throwing away £285million of taxpayers’ money on the now infamous St Helena airport – an airport built in an area that is too windy for commercial planes to fly. He might as well have stood in front of his Whitehall office and burned the money.
Just last month he was accused by MPs of being “evasive” when asked to account for the monumental folly. But highlighting this one waste of money, however grotesque it may be, is deeply misleading.
Whitehall failures are being rewarded
Quite why British taxpayers are being made to subsidise some of our most successful businesses so they can be even more successful and make even bigger profits has yet to be explained.
Take the latest revelation this week that more than £1billion has been handed over in cash (or via ATM cards) to people in some of the world’s most corrupt nations.
Since David Cameron committed us to doling out at least 0.7 per cent of our GDP in aid, this truly bonkers scheme has enabled what appears to be widespread theft on a grand scale.
In Pakistan, for example, which is being given £300million over eight years as part of the Benazir Income Support Programme, an audit has exposed more than 125,000 “suspicious” payments. Senior Pakistani officials are now accused of embezzlement.
We have long known about the corruption and waste endemic in the aid budget and we have long carried on regardless. Indeed, not only have we carried on but now we have actually singled out the civil servant responsible for the inefficient spending of our aid budget and awarded him a knighthood.
If this is not madness, what is? There is of course no suggestion that Sir Mark or any of his Whitehall colleagues are in any way corrupt. The suggestion is rather that they are epically incompetent.
Choosing an arbitrary figure and then seeking out projects to spend it on is guaranteed to lead to corruption and waste. But there is one hopeful sign. For all that Mrs May has refused to backtrack on the 0.7 per cent pledge, she has taken one important step towards sanity. Her appointment of Priti Patel as International Development Secretary was decidedly shrewd.
Ms Patel made it very clear as a backbencher that she has not fallen for the drivel spouted by the aid lobby. Typically, when she was appointed, she was caricatured as some kind of hatchet woman. In reality she has one interest: ensuring that British taxpayers’ money is spent sensibly. Ideally that should mean scrapping the 0.7 per cent policy.
FOREIGN AID ROBS MONEY FROM POOR IN RICH COUNTRIES TO GIVE TO RICH IN POOR COUNTRIES – IT PAYS FOR LUXURY CARS TO RACIST GORILLA LOOKING MUGABE.
DICTATORS USE AID TO CREATE MORE CHAOS BY BUYING MORE GUNS TO GET MORE AID.
FOOD AID IS ROBBED AND RE-SOLD AND DESTROYS LOCAL FARMERS CROP VALUES.
AID IS NOT HELPING. WHY HELP COUNTRIES WITH SPACE PROGRAMS OR ETHIOPIAN SPICE GIRLS – OVER £60 MILLION.
TO HELP WE NEED TO BUILD PREFABS IN UK AND SHIP THEM TO AFRICA THIS WILL EMPLOY BOTH UK PEOPLE AND AFRICANS TO RE-CONSTRUCT THE HOMES AND POWER THEM UP.
WE COULD SEND CHICKENS OR PREGNANT COWS OR TOOLS OR OLD COMPUTERS.