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30 Mar 2006 : Column 1131W—continued


Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to his answer of 27 March 2006, Official Report, column 626W, on Nepal, whether a company has been appointed as management contractor; and what the contractor's responsibilities will be. [62461]

Hilary Benn: The Kathmandu Valley Water Supply Management Support Committee invited bids from international water utility companies for the job of Management Contractor. DFID understands that Severn Trent Water International Ltd, a UK based company, was the only bidder and that the Evaluation Committee, consisting of relevant Government representatives, is evaluating the bid.

The Management Contractor will be required to assist the newly formed Water Utility Operator company. The company will assume responsibility for managing the water supply system of the Kathmandu Valley from around July 2006.

Oil Pipelines

Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what criteria his Department uses in deciding whether to fund oil pipeline projects in developing countries. [62474]

Mr. Thomas: DFID's involvement with oil pipeline projects in developing countries is an indirect one; as a 'shareholder' in multilateral financial institutions, such as the World Bank and the Regional Development Banks, which invest in projects in this sector, DFID does not fund oil pipeline projects directly.

As part of DFID's responsibilities in this 'shareholder' role, DFID monitors developments in the oil, gas and minerals sectors. This work focuses on the general principles adopted in the environmental and social policies and procedures of the multilateral banks because these provide the framework within which the environmental, social and economic impacts of specific projects are managed 'on the ground'.

For example, DFID has been actively engaged in the Extractive Industries Review, which assessed the compatibility of the World Bank's investments in the sector with their mission of poverty reduction and sustainable development.

More recently, DFID has also contributed to the International Finance Corporation's review of its environmental and social safeguards policies and procedures—key tools in ensuring the prudent management of the exploitation of natural resources in developing countries.


Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of (a) poverty and (b) income levels in Peru. [62143]

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Mr. Thomas: DFID keeps informed about poverty and income levels in Peru through its regional Andean office, based in La Paz Bolivia. Currently, national poverty rates put total poverty (moderate and extreme) at 54.7 per cent., and extreme poverty at 21.5 per cent. of the population 1 . Average household income is estimated at 317 Nuevo Soles per person per month (just under US$100). Inequality in Peru is a grave problem and poverty is much higher in rural areas, where total poverty is 76.4 per cent. and extreme poverty 45.6 per cent., versus 43.0 per cent. and 8.5 per cent. for urban areas.

There have been some improvements in the country-wide situation during recent years. Between 2001 and 2003, overall poverty remained the same, but extreme poverty fell slightly from 24.2 per cent. Additionally, since the mid-1990s, housing conditions have improved—for example, the percentage of the population with access to improved sanitation rose from 50.3 per cent. in 1995 to 57.0 per cent. in 2002. Urban youth unemployment in young people has fallen slightly, from 14.3 per cent. to 12.4 per cent. in the same period. 2

Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of members of the Principal Civil Service pension scheme in his Department joined the scheme before the age of (a) 20, (b) 25, (c) 30, (d) 35, (e) 40, (f) 45 and (g) over 45 years old. [62001]

Mr. Thomas: As at 29 March 2006, there were 1,904 active members of the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme in the Department for International Development. The ages at which they joined the scheme are shown in the table.
(a) before 20126
(b) 20 and before 25338
(c) 25 and before 30393
(d) 30 and before 35324
(e) 35 and before 40264
(f) 40 and before 45220
(g) 45 and after239

Superannuation Liability

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what total amount of employers' normal contributions accruing superannuation liability charge has been accounted for by his Department in each of the last five years for which data are available. [61358]

Mr. Thomas: In the Department for International Development, the amount of employers' accruing superannuation liability charges in respect of members of the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme in the last five years is as follows:
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£ million

(11) From 1 October 2002, new entrants have been able to opt for a partnership pension partnership account, a stakeholder arrangement with an employer contribution. Employers' contributions to partnership pension accounts are not included in the figures.


Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to assist Uruguay to diversify its trade. [62155]

Mr. Thomas: As a middle income country, Uruguay receives a relatively low share of international development assistance. DFID does not provide direct bilateral assistance to Uruguay. DFID's main financial contribution to Latin America is through the UK's contributions to multi-lateral organisations such as the European Commission (EC), the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) and the World Bank, whose programmes include support to Uruguay's development.

The EC's present country strategy paper (2001 to 2006) for Uruguay, with indicative funding of €18.6 million, includes an €8.4 million (45 per cent.) component for economic reform. This is aimed particularly at helping Uruguay to diversify its industrial base beyond the production and export of commodities. Furthermore, the Commission is continuing to negotiate with Mercosur, of which Uruguay is a member, for a new EU-Mercosur free trade agreement. If successfully achieved, such an agreement, with appropriate complementary policy measures in place, could be expected to contribute to Uruguay's trade diversification.

The World Bank's country assistance strategy for Uruguay, which projects assistance of up to US$800 million between 2005 and 2010, includes the promotion of sustained and broad-based growth. New loan projects, such as a $70 million project to upgrade the country's transport infrastructure, can be expected to help facilitate access to markets and diversification of economic activity.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) country strategy for Uruguay (2005 to 2009) includes the objective of enhancing the regional and international competitiveness of national outputs and promoting private sector investment. Within this, the strategy aims to strengthen Uruguay's access to export markets and the internationalisation of its business and industry.

As part of its regional assistance plan for Latin America, DFID is also providing £7.5 million over four years (2005 to 2009) to strengthen the effectiveness of the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank in reducing poverty in Latin America through activities related to markets and international trade. While aimed primarily at those countries in the region with lower incomes and greater poverty, the programme
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could bring benefits to Uruguay in terms of the improved effectiveness and operations of the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.

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