Thursday, January 5, 2012

Foreign aid should make country independent: Experts

Experts today claimed that foreign aid should make a country independent rather than dependent on donors.
"Aid effectiveness can be gauged by not only how transparent it is, rather it should be measured by how is it helping a country reduce dependency," said ActionAid country director Bimal Phuyal addressing at an launching of a book 'Changing Paradigm of Aid Effectiveness in Nepal' published by Alliance for Aid Monitor Nepal.
Nepal has been receiving foreign aid since 1950 for development activities but it has not been able to make justice for overall development.Aid has to be streamlined with national priorities, he said, adding that all aid is not good because aid may promote dependency and fuel underdevelopment as well. "The government has to accept aid according to its National Development Strategy."
Coming down heavily on donors and aid hydro expert Deepak Gyawali said that the half century of development aid has given the country nothing but a 'national shame'. “There is aid in water and power but people are deprived of both and hence poorer became further poor," he reiterated.
"Foreign Aid of any country has to be seen as a foreign policy of the respective countries," Gyawali said, adding the aid flow also changes with a change in their foreign policy bringing a disaster to the recipient country.
Aid, which basically comes to end poverty and fight injustice, has not been able to improve the lives common people. "Nepal has received huge aid in agriculture sectors since long, but lives of farmers have not improved yet."
Senior economist Dr Meena Acharya seconded his thoughts. "Foreign aid in Nepal is a failure and has huge negative perspective," she added.
However, Prof Dr Madan Kumar Dahal opined that in present time, no country is self reliant. "All the countries are inter-dependent," he said, adding that the foreign aid has to be mobilised for the encouragement of trade, commerce and tourism. "Nepal’s foreign aid absorptive capacity has been low though it needs more aid."
Although foreign aid has contributed to per capita GDP in the long run, it is found to be negative in the short run implying that country suffered from a lack of aid absorptive capacity and aid volatility. Only 50 per cent of total aid comes through the country systems, according to joint secretary and chief of Foreign Aid Division at the Finance Ministry Lal Shankar Ghimire.
"Donors are ineffective because they are more fragmented," he said, adding that ministry if trying to bring Information Management Platform in coming fiscal year, which will provide detail information and data of aid-funded projects and make aid more transparent.
Chairman of AAMN Prof Dr Keshav Raj Khadka, however, concluded to absorb aid that suits best to the socio-economic and political environments of the country. "Aid should address the economic architecture of our country but not to develop new and different structure," he added.
According to former economic advisor to the Finance Ministry Keshav Acharya, "Aid is generally taken for some twenty years to strengthen country systems and mobilise productive forces like it happened in Korea, Malaysia and Singapore. “Now these countries are emerging as a power house but Nepal has been taking aid since last 60 years and has not yet achieved much by aid yet.

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