Thursday, April 21, 2011

‘Myth’ that Pakistan gets billions in US aid: Finance minister

The Times of India, April 19, 2011

WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s finance minister on Monday dismissed as “a myth” in the United States that his country is a major recipient of tens of billions of dollars in US aid.
Finance minister Hafiz Shaikh told an audience in Washington that the United States had not delivered what it promised under the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Law aid package, which is meant to provide $7.5 billion in civilian aid over five years. The law, passed in 2009, authorized $1.5 billion a year.

“There is a perception that there is a lot of money going to Pakistan,” Shaikh told the Woodrow Wilson Center policy think-tank.

“It is largely a myth that Pakistan is a beneficiary of tens of billions of dollars. The truth is that in the Kerry-Lugar-Berman arrangement this year we have not even received $300 million,” he added.

Pakistan is dependent on foreign aid and plagued by political instability and violence. Massive floods last year, the worst natural disaster the country has ever seen, affected three million people, destroyed crops and swept away roads and bridges, causing over $10 billion in damage and wiping out about 2 percentage points of gross domestic product.

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