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Why do we give over £10bn each year to the most corrupt people in the world?

In the coming financial year which begins this Friday 5 April, our useless government will increase the budget of the Department for International Development (DfID) from £7.9bn to £10.5bn. This is a pretty impressive rise of £2.6bn (up 33%) at a time when 40,000 are being sacked from our armed forces and when police numbers are being cut by 32,400. Coincidentally, just this £2.6bn increase in foreign aid is enough to comfortably pay for the 72,400 police and military who are losing their jobs.

Our hopeless government claims that foreign aid works and that by 2015, British money will have helped to vaccinate 55 million children against killer diseases and put 9 million through primary school. But repeated studies by the UN have shown that somewhere between 80% and 90% of all money given to foreign aid projects is lost either through incompetence or corruption. For example, about a year ago the South African government set aside over £2m to buy books for schools. Not a single book was bought, but the money disappeared.

One of the countries to benefit from our government’s generosity with our money is that earthly paradise Pakistan – one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Pakistan gets about £450m a year much of which supposedly goes on providing education to the poor. Pakistan’s president is known “affectionately” to his people as “Mr Ten Per Cent”. That might provide a clue as to his honesty.

But does Pakistan really need our money? Over 54% of all the money spent by Pakistan’s government goes on the military and on servicing the country’s debts, while less than 2% goes on education. Moreover, out of Pakistan’s 180 million population, less than one million (860,000) pay any income tax. According to an article in the Telegraph today, 35 out of 55 Pakistani cabinet ministers paid no income tax at all. Similarly 251 out of 341 members of the National Assembly chose not to pay any income tax either.

We’re paying for Pakistan’s schools so its rich don’t have to pay any tax and so that the country can squander the money it does have.

In fact, we can see the same pattern in most other countries we give aid to. Either the aid is stolen or else we pay for things like vaccinations and schools and water supply so that the politicians and bureaucrats can spend what little money their countries do have on their own luxury homes or else send it to their offshore bank accounts – ten times as much money leaves Africa for offshore bank accounts as the whole world gives Africa in aid each year.

This leaves us with a terrible dilemma. If we reduced or even stopped aid, millions would suffer because the rulers of most of the countries to which we give aid are so venal that they would rather steal their countries’ money than use it for the welfare of their people. But if we carry on giving aid, we allow these countries’ leaders to continue with their grand larceny.

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