USAID to cut down over 100 projects in Pakistan: Thier

Published: April 26, 2012

Reduction does not mean declining assistance.

WASHINGTON: 

The number of programmes funded by the USAID in Pakistan will be cut down to 35 from 150 by 2013, senior USAID official Alex Thier revealed — adding that the reduction will not affect the funding numbers.

In an exclusive interview with Express News, the USAID Assistant to Administrator for Afghanistan and Pakistan Thier said that USAID Administrator Dr Rajiv Shah, together with his team, looked at their total number of programmes with input from the Pakistani Government, civil society and other stakeholders.

“We wanted to have a more concentrated and focused programme. We wanted to make sure we were having an impact with these programmes in Pakistan,” said Thier, adding that the portfolio was too large.

“What we’ve done is that we had 150 planned and on-going projects.  We have now narrowed that to 50 projects and by the middle of next year we’ll only be funding 35 projects in Pakistan.”

Thier was quick to add that the reduction has nothing to do with declining assistance. “With the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill, our civilian assistance with Pakistan has increased. Its still a very high level of assistance. It is the second largest programme that the USAID has anywhere in the world.”

The USAID official said that they were now focusing on five key sectors: energy, economic growth, stabilisation, education and health. According to figures received from the USAID, in 2012, they expect to spend an estimated $865 million on projects in Pakistan.

Thier said that energy was the top priority for the USAID.

“We have done some remarkable things in the past couple of years that will lead to an additional 900 megawatts being added to the grid by early 2013. That is roughly 20% of the electricity shortfall in Pakistan addressed just through USAID programmes.”

The USAID official also said that they are working on public-private partnerships in the fields of health in collaboration with the federal and provincial governments. “We estimate that with our new health programmes, we will save 190,000 lives over five years.”

When questioned about the effective utilisation of the assistance, given the high level of corruption in the country, he said: “In Pakistan 50% of our funding is government to government assistance.

“We are very careful about where that money goes and we have extensive safeguards to make sure that there is no corruption in that process.

Since 2011, relations between the US and Pakistan have plummeted to an all time low in the aftermath of the Raymond Davis affair, the Bin Laden raid and the Salala airstrike.  But Thier asserted that the state of relations have not impacted civilian assistance.

“What the US wants from Pakistan in the long term is a Pakistan that is more stable, more prosperous, more secure. Our development assistance is linked to these direct foreign policy objectives that both of our governments have. The message we got from government of Pakistan is that these programs are some of the most important aspects of the relationship.”

Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th, 2012. 

Reader Comments (33)

  • Kiran Peter
    Apr 26, 2012 - 8:58AM

    Excellent USAID

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  • khan
    Apr 26, 2012 - 9:12AM

    “It is the second largest programme that the USAID has anywhere in the world.” Really? Never knew that. Who is the first? Also, why are we enjoying the hard earned tax payer money of another country, and then leave no stone unturned to hate them? Why would these people help us by paying from their pocket to clean up the dirty mess we created ourselves?

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  • bashar alaam
    Apr 26, 2012 - 9:12AM

    Wow 20 % of electricity addition. Pakistan will always be greteful.

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  • Awais
    Apr 26, 2012 - 9:19AM

    They are correct. the USAID has a VAST number of projects. And thats just counting the ones they directly fund. They have also set up numerous funds which further provide funding to projects at the micro level. In truth, they have thousands of projects, and this claim is very valid. Their objectives have also changed and reflect the five sectors mentioned in the article. Its a very interesting realignment of objectives, and is definately needed to actually achieve an impact. While most may question usaid’s motives, it in no doubt is the source of major development work in the country. Its a shame really though but IA one day we shall be able to do the same.

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  • Hakeem
    Apr 26, 2012 - 9:22AM

    people don’t see any USAID benefit because it’s all about securing US interests not peoples!

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  • Hakeem
    Apr 26, 2012 - 9:23AM

    While having millions of homeless people in US one wonders why they don’t spend these millions of AID money on those homeless uplifting?

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  • Hit-Man
    Apr 26, 2012 - 9:39AM

    The writing is on the wall ie ‘COOPERATE or PERISH’.

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  • M. B. F. H
    Apr 26, 2012 - 10:08AM

    Just type “usaid.gov/pk” in your browser and see for yourself if you like it!

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  • abbas
    Apr 26, 2012 - 10:30AM

    Good it had to happened sooner or later. USAID funding strategy varies with political tactics from white house / pentagon.

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  • Pagall
    Apr 26, 2012 - 10:40AM

    I see many people getting jobless with this

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  • Donga Bonga
    Apr 26, 2012 - 10:48AM

    “We estimate that with our new health programmes, we will save 190,000 lives over five years.”

    What about all the lives they’ll take through other means??

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  • Ahmer Ali
    Apr 26, 2012 - 11:12AM

    The nation shall be grateful of USA if this happens in practical sense and this shall give Pakistan the golden opportunity to stand on its own feet to get real self-reliance and sovereignty.Please US’ leaders do so as soon as possible.But the Pakistani beggars,slaves and corrupt leaders shall must effect from it because their kingly life style shall be effected badly and the nation is used to live simple and primitive life.

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  • Anon.
    Apr 26, 2012 - 11:29AM

    aww liberals will be so sad to hear this, how are they to earn their commissions on pseudo humanitarian NGO projects if the USAID is reduced?Recommend

  • CAT
    Apr 26, 2012 - 11:39AM

    Pakistan is a huge country. A more focused, concentrated and scaled up approach is needed whereby the support from the people of America reaches the people of Pakistan. Fewer but strategic projects undertaken efficiently and effectively is the best way forward.

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  • Kashi
    Apr 26, 2012 - 11:54AM

    Only our Corrupt politicians r getting profit frm these projects NOT any other normal person in Pakistan SO its GOOD if these projects r closed…..

    Politicians took money from US projects n put them in their own banks and then normal ppl are paying this loan payment per month by paying increase prices in oil, electricity, every goods, gas.

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  • Muhammad
    Apr 26, 2012 - 12:14PM

    this is not 1949
    and we are not Japan

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  • A J Khan
    Apr 26, 2012 - 12:17PM

    Where are these invisable projects????
    Please don’t spend it on us. There are more deserving people in USA.

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  • HMM
    Apr 26, 2012 - 1:09PM

    @Khan

    The mess that have been created here is not entirely of our own. Many countries of the world were involved in it, US being on top of them. They encouraged and financed the JIHAD against russia and after achieving their goal, it left the mess to us and didnt bother to accomodate these people back to their countries and societies. Plus we have been fighting their war on terror for ten years costing us more the 70 billion dollars; keeping aside the human loss. So whats the the big deal if they are giving just a peanut. You should be too sympathetic about their money but about what they have done to Pakistan.

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  • Ali
    Apr 26, 2012 - 1:43PM

    Perhaps if the people knew, it would be in our interest that we made good ties with the US. People criticise the drones etc even though they dont have the flying idea abt them. For a fact, lets accept it. WE NEED AID.

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  • anoni
    Apr 26, 2012 - 2:15PM

    We should thank the US for whatever project that has contributed to common man assistance. On the other hand we should stand on our foot and instead of assistance we should move to cooperation in these area.

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  • Bilafond
    Apr 26, 2012 - 3:00PM

    Please help the war wounded in USA and leave. People are not seeing anything. Only US interests are served there is no love lost.

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  • Jani
    Apr 26, 2012 - 3:06PM

    good usaid we hope you cut down other 35 projects as well in Pakistan, and leave asap, we don’t need your spies in Pakistan

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  • NangDaAfghan
    Apr 26, 2012 - 3:38PM

    @HMM, You made good money out of Afghan Jihad, what are you complaining about. Till today God is kind enough to send you Man O Salwa to reward you for helping in Afghan Jihad. Do not behave like Bani Israel, otherwise, God will take all those back.

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  • Bhindian
    Apr 26, 2012 - 4:01PM

    good riddance

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  • Khan(sr)
    Apr 26, 2012 - 5:45PM

    @NangDaAfghan:
    Do you have any details of that so called Man O Salva? How can you link that with Your own civil war that you guys started and then rest of the world joined ? Here is a link to USAid to Pakistan throughout its history it is not related to Your war as US Pakistan has its own relationship that isn’t dictated through Afghan ministers but our own governments.
    Please do check how much it was in 1960s .. You guys very conveniently forget that losses it has done to our infrastructure and economy along with our society by hosting millions of illegal refugees who have overtaken all our businesses and added to the imbalance of demand and supply equation.
    @HMM:
    People should take responsibility of their own deeds if they ever want to sort of this mess .. It was not forced down our throat but we willingly joined it and it was our own decision to keep that border open and keep hosting millions of people from across the border, after 1989.

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  • DB
    Apr 26, 2012 - 8:24PM

    No need for USAID now that Zardari and Gilani, two major USAID recipients are unable to deliver on their commitments to the US.

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  • Cautious
    Apr 26, 2012 - 8:28PM

    Maybe they should cut aid to any project which they funded and didn’t even get a “thank you” — suspect it would be surprising large number of project.

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  • Saleem
    Apr 26, 2012 - 11:41PM

    @khan:

    Excellent point. We hate America, in Friday’s sermon we demonize them but still we want them to bail us out. Why don’t we hate American dollars as much as we hate America? JI and other right wing so called leaders must answer that.

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  • Saleem
    Apr 26, 2012 - 11:47PM

    @HMM:

    You can’t blame others for your mistakes all the time. Learn to realize them and then deal with them. Can’t you still see mess all around Pakistan? How many non-Pakistanis you see creating that havoc?

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  • Apr 27, 2012 - 7:44AM

    Few months or a year or so ago, I was debating with a Pakistani Internet User about USAID. When I went to the USAID website, I was shocked to see the sheer number of projects and funding that is pumped into Pakistan. I was actually wondering why Pakistanis hate the US.

    US can never get any positive PR in Pakistan, no matter what they do. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. People in Nigeria or Somalia or Iraq might appreciate it more.

    Pakistan wants nothing short of a Marshall plan, that is pumping billions and billions of dollars but without any sort of accountability or positive PR for the US.

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  • Anonymous
    Apr 27, 2012 - 10:01AM

    But Pakistanis wanted all projects to be cut!Recommend

  • Truthbetold
    Apr 28, 2012 - 4:30AM

    @HMM:

    “They encouraged and financed the JIHAD against russia and after achieving their goal,…”

    You have to be accountable for your own actions. Nobody put a gun to Pakistan’s head to take ownership of Jihad. You did it because you liked the money and the fact that it suited your geopolitical goals.

    Recommend

  • Zeeshan
    Apr 29, 2012 - 10:05PM

    The Pakistani Nation shall be thankful to USA for Society building purpose Excellent Us-AID

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