International Development Committee - Minutes of EvidenceHC 725

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Oral Evidence

Taken before the International Development Committee

on Tuesday 29 January 2013

Members present:

Sir Malcolm Bruce (Chair)

Hugh Bayley

Richard Burden

Fiona Bruce

Pauline Latham

Jeremy Lefroy

Mr Michael McCann

Fiona O’Donnell

Mark Pritchard

Chris White


Examination of Witnesses

Witnesses: Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, Secretary of State for International Development, and Moazzam Malik, Western Asia and Stabilisation Division, Department for International Development, gave evidence.

Q104Chair: Good morning, Secretary of State, and thank you very much for coming in to take part in the final evidence session of our inquiry into Pakistan. Just for the record, perhaps you could introduce your colleague, Mr Malik?

Justine Greening: This is Moazzam Malik, who oversees the region that includes Pakistan and I thought would be able to provide some helpful additional evidence to the Committee.

Q105Chair: Thank you very much. You have obviously visited Pakistan recently, since the Committee visited, and things have become quite dynamic, I suppose, in that timescale. You will appreciate that the security situation limited some of the things we would have wished to do, and I suspect they had a similar effect on you, but we did have the opportunity to see quite a number of things and talk to the people who are directly affected. I think the question in the Committee’s mind is that we are very closely engaged with Pakistan; we have a substantial programme that is set to increase, but it is not entirely clear to the Committee exactly why we feel that Pakistan should get such an increasing programme. I wondered if you could say whether you feel it is about poverty alleviation, or is it about the terrorist and security issues, or to what extent do they interact in terms of the Government’s policy towards Pakistan and the aid programme?

Justine Greening: You are right, Chair, to set out that there are a number of both short- and longerterm reasons why increasing our investment in Pakistan is a sensible thing to do. First of all we know that there are big challenges on the poverty-reduction agenda. There has been some progress against the MDGs in Pakistan, but we can also see that there are a number that have not been met. To reference your other point, of course there are issues in relation to the stability of Pakistan, and some of the preventative work that DFID can do, particularly around education, for example, we think can have a much longerterm benefit, both to Pakistan and to the region.

It is a very interesting time for you to produce your report, because of course there are some huge challenges in Pakistan, but also some massive opportunities. That country stands on the threshold of having elections, in three months or so, where we will see for the first time a democratically elected Government of Pakistan handing over to a newly elected democratic Government of Pakistan. If you combine that with the demographic shape of the country, which shows a very expanding population-I think by 2020 there will be 205 million people in the country, 40% of whom will be under 30-there is a real choice for all of us around what kind of a future we want to help Pakistan and the Pakistani people create.

Is it a future where those people are healthy and educated, and can help rebuild their country and help it become stable? Or is it a future where they will grow up and we may see continued extremism, and we will lose the chance for Pakistan to play its role in driving economic growth in the region? There is a huge opportunity, and the time to invest and to work with Government in Pakistan to make the most of that is now.

Q106Chair: You no doubt had the benefit of our High Commissioner’s briefing on the two possible paths that Pakistan might take-more optimistic and more pessimistic. How does your Department’s programme interact with the Foreign Office and Defence? To what extent do they influence our priorities, and, indeed, to what extent is their spending incountry proportionate and complementary to what DFID is doing?

Justine Greening: It is probably fair to say that the overwhelming bulk of the investment that the British Government makes in Pakistan is through DFID, so it is by far and away the biggest element. Our work does sit alongside the Foreign Office, very much in terms of the work they do on a daytoday basis around advocacy and the discussions that take place with the Pakistani Government on the need for economic reform. One of the important discussions I was able to have when I was there, with both current Government ministers and opposition politicians, was about how, essentially, whatever happens in the elections, and whichever kind of Government hopefully takes over, they will both face some significant challenges.

The Foreign Office very much sits alongside what DFID does in terms of daytoday advocacy, and then of course you are right; there is a counterterrorism and security aspect of our thinking, which is around some of the investment we do in the border areas, where we know we can work to in some cases increase infrastructure in many of the areas that have been damaged by floods and earthquakes, but also focus on education programmes and explicitly try to do our best, working alongside the Government of Pakistan, to try to stop extremism from rising up.

Q107Chair: Perhaps I can just pursue two points. What influence do we have over the Pakistan Government? They are taking aid programmes: they are taking our taxes, not paying their own taxes; they have billions of pounds in bank accounts, and yet they are looking for money from the IMF. Everybody collectively says, "Oh, well, we expect them to do something." They have had plans in the past to raise their tax base. It has gone down, not up. What influence do we have, and to what extent is our engagement giving us leverage over what they do? To put it at its most negative, are they saying, "We will take your money and do what we please"?

Justine Greening: I do not think our aid budget per se is designed to buy influence. In terms of what we work on, however, and the effectiveness that we are able to help develop in terms of education programmes, I think it can catalyse economic reform, and it can open up an ability for the UK Government, as a hopefully trusted partner of the Pakistan Government, to have those sorts of discussions and be properly listened to. The programmes we invest in are always Government programmes, in which the Government itself is already investing. We are not delivering new Government programmes that the Pakistani Government is not itself already investing in. However, part of the work DFID does alongside the Foreign Office is to, as you point out, try to make sure that we have the right conversations with Pakistani politicians about the reforms we feel need to happen in Pakistan.

It is probably worth me being clear, however. At the end of the day, it will take leadership from Pakistani politicians to get those reforms through that are needed for Pakistan to have a brighter future. They are challenging reforms around tax reform, around economic decisions in particular, but the signs are encouraging that reform is taking place. A significant reform on devolution, as the Committee will know, happened over recent months and the last couple of years. We should not underestimate how dramatic that is in terms of being a reform. There are some signs that the Pakistani Government is willing to take some of the tough decisions, but you are right, Chairman, that there are a lot of very difficult reforms ahead. Certainly the UK Government, alongside our investment, is, of course, pressing the Pakistani Government to make those reforms.

Turning to what I thought was a really important point on tax and a point well made, one of those most important reforms has to be in tax. At the moment, a good example is that 70% of Pakistan’s MPs are not filing a tax return. There is no doubt in my mind that if there are difficult reforms, particularly on tax, to be gone through in Pakistan-and it is important that they do that, because we know that their tax base is probably one of the smallest in relation to their GDP in the world-it is important that ordinary Pakistani people can see that these tax reforms apply to everybody. As we know in our own democracy, showing a fair tax system that is equal to everybody is important.

Chair: First of all I take your point that we as a Committee do not think that DFID’s support is designed to buy. It is just about what the terms of the relationship are, not about the money per se. I will come back to my second question; Michael McCann should pursue his point, because the tax issue is very important.

Q108Mr McCann: You have touched upon it already, Secretary of State: it is about the sustainability of programmes. Many past donorled programmes have failed because there has been a lack of buyin from Pakistan and the Pakistani Government. In terms of all our programmes, are you confident that each and every one of them is sustainable, in the way you suggested a few moments ago?

Justine Greening: I think they are designed, in a way, to make sure that we maximise the chance of sustainability being achieved. What does that mean in practice? Probably a good example would be the education work that we do, which is a huge, underpinning part of the DFID programme. I think it is making sure that we do not think that just doing one strand of activity will be the whole strategy. You had Sir Michael Barber come here and give evidence on the education roadmap work he has done, which is a fantastic piece of work, and it is being pursued in Punjab, which is a hugely populous part of Pakistan, but also Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It is a very effective piece of work; however, if it is to be sustainable, it has to sit alongside a broader strategy around education, for example, in Punjab.

The work we have done is around increasing or improving the supply side: investing in schools, investing in teachers, investing in textbooks, and helping them develop proper textbooks that teachers can use, and teacher plans, for the first time. It means investing in the demand side and some of the work to encourage parents to send their children to school, whether they are a little boy or a little girl. Then the education roadmap work that Sir Michael Barber has pushed through, which is very important, is about having a structure in place for politicians and officials to make sure that those strategies are being successful and are being pursued right the way down to making an impact on the ground.

If you have those different elements in place, you do start to get sustainability. At that stage you have parents starting to understand why schooling is so important, and seeing good quality schooling happening, and you then start to see politicians realising that, if they want to get elected again, continuing these sorts of really effective programmes, which are really making a difference on the ground and which are very valued, is probably one of the best ways to achieve that. You try to create a virtuous circle, but what is important is that just doing one element of a programme will probably not be enough for sustainability, although in itself it may be a positive thing to do. We are always keen to make sure we feel that there is a broader plan there. Whether or not it is one that DFID delivers all of is a different matter, but it has to be there in the first place.

Q109Mr McCann: As a supplementary to that, we saw two examples of education-we saw a very lowcost private school, and then we saw part of the state sector. I think my colleagues would agree that we were less than convinced in terms of the state sector that it was sustainable. To give you an example, when we were in the classroom looking at the children’s books, they were drawing a plant, and they knew the different parts of it in English. However, on either side of the textbook, there was no writing whatsoever. You could not escape the conclusion that it had been set up to allow us to see something, and the kids had been tutored. It was not sustainable.

Justine Greening: As all of us do in any visit, you are absolutely right to cast a critical eye over what you are being shown. What is interesting about the system that is developing in Pakistan is that it is-you are right-a combination of Governmentprovided state schools and lowcost private schools. What is interesting is that there is some evidence that shows that lowcost private schools deliver better education. The challenge is if you want to scale up the provision of education, scaling up lowcost private schools takes longer. It is not quite as straightforward to do it. I think you are right, and the quality of education is something that has certainly in Punjab been identified as one of the challenges.

You are starting to see attendance at school go up, and you are starting to see absenteeism of both pupils and teachers, critically, going down. I think there was identified at the provincial level this question of quality. Interestingly, if you look at the debate that is happening around the Development Framework and where we go with the MDGs, that has also been one of the debates there. Yes, let us get children into school, but they are going there for a reason, which is to have a quality of education that means that they are literate. This is why I think your inquiry will be a very interesting one, because these are precisely some of the observations I am quite interested to hear more about when you do your Report. We, of course, will knit them together with our assessment of how we see lowcost private schools and Government schools on the ground. I can see that Moazzam would like to add to that.

Moazzam Malik: I was just going to add, Chairman and Mr McCann, that on the influence question, if you look at what we are doing, in each of our programmes where we are partnering with Government we are achieving additional spend by the Government, so we are leveraging their resources. We are leveraging an improvement in the quality of their spend, and we are leveraging their policy choices, so with relatively small amounts of money we are shaping what they are doing. For example, in Punjab in education, for roughly £60 million to £70 million a year we are influencing a £1 billion a year budget. On the back of the work we have done, they have started appointing teachers on merit; they have started appointing their education officials in each of the districts on merit. The Chief Minister is engaged in making those policy choices and in trying to secure better value for the children. The relatively small amounts of resource are winning us real influence at that programme level, which is delivering real benefits to poor kids.

On the low-cost versus state sector issue, we also have to remember, and we are very mindful, that roughly half of Pakistan’s children still go through the state sector. Invariably they are the poorest children; the children who do not have the choices end up in the state sector. If we are really committed to improving life prospects for the poor, then we have to work on the state sector. The work that Sir Michael is doing with us is very much focussed on trying to get better value in those statefinanced schools.

Q110Mark Pritchard: The Chairman made some references to security, Secretary of State, and in his statement to the House on Mali the Prime Minister made reference to Pakistan and Somalia and mentioned the security progress in both of those countries linked to homegrown terrorism-the reduction in those links. I wondered, in the light of that, albeit that security is just a part of the informal work that DFID does in capacitybuilding and strengthening institutions in Pakistan, whether DFID is currently reviewing that aspect of the budget, or the budget overall to which that aspect applies, in light of the Prime Minister’s comments?

Justine Greening: To be honest, we continually go and look at whether we have the balance of our investment right. One of the things we have been quite careful to build into our future years’ investment, which as you know is going up to around £400 millionplus by 201415, is flexibility. We do need to make sure that we can react to changing events and changing priorities, so I can hopefully provide some reassurance that we do take that into account. If I had to say where I feel our work with Pakistan fits in in a more regional context, I think it is twofold. It is part of the work you have just talked about in relation to security, counterterrorism and extremism: when you go to Pakistan and talk to Government and Opposition, they are acutely aware of this themselves. It is one of the first challenges they will tell you they need to address.

The UK Government has played a key role in pulling together Afghanistan and Pakistan in trilateral talks. That has, I believe-and if you talk to the Pakistani Foreign Minister-really started to provide an engagement between Afghanistan and Pakistan that is a productive one now, where they both see that having stability in Afghanistan is in both of their interests as countries. That is part of what we do. The second part, interestingly, is with India, and what Pakistan is quite rightly looking to do with its relationship with India is have a more economic, tradebased relationship. Again, that is a very sensible approach they are now taking, which we as a Government, and I think the Foreign Office, should be supporting them to do. I think it is absolutely right.

Q111Chris White: Good morning, Secretary of State. Your Department says that an increase in aid spending is dependent on the progress that the Pakistani Government makes on some key reforms. You have already started to touch on those reforms in your previous answers, but I wondered if you could go into a little bit more detail about which key reforms your Department wishes to see? How will they be publicised, and how will these reforms be measured?

Justine Greening: I think they come in several areas. One is social-sector spending on health and education; we have briefly talked about that. Basically, it is seeing the Pakistan Government itself investing in these key areas-and it is: the Government of Punjab spends $1 billion every year now on education. The Government of Pakistan overall is putting, I think I am right in saying, £2 billion into its social protection plan, and again we have put some investment into that to make sure we can play our role in helping it be targeted and effective. I had a chance to see that firsthand, and I think it is an innovative programme, and I can talk about more details on that. Social-sector spending means them themselves putting in place basic services and the kind of welfare system that protects the poorest of the poorest.

Secondly, there is tax revenue, which we have talked about. It is about making sure that Pakistan has its own business model, if you like, to enable it to invest in social spending and growing its own economy, and invest in the infrastructure it needs. Anticorruption: that means some of the work we have done, but which ultimately has to be pushed forward by the Pakistani Government, around public finance management as well as transparency and accountability, both at the Government level nationally and also provincially.

Finally, human rights and democracy: I believe that if you look, there have been some steps forward made by the Pakistan Government, but I think we all see some of the challenges on the ground. You look at the attack on Malala and some of the attacks on health workers who have been out doing vaccination programmes. What it really brings home is the huge challenge of any Government of Pakistan in terms of moving forward on human rights. It is not just about putting through legislation but making sure that you are able to implement it too. We want to see progress on all of those different things.

How can we make sure it happens? On all of them there are metrics around investment, around the number of children going into schools, and of course health metrics, and metrics around tax revenue. We talked about some of the metrics. It is actually relatively straightforward. It is the proportion of tax raised in relation to GDP, the extent of the tax base, which has grown, and total tax revenue. On anticorruption, there are anticorruption and corruption scales on which Pakistan is rated, and we would want to see Pakistan becoming rated as a less corrupt country, and similarly on human rights and democracy. Of course the big test in the latter is having free, fair and hopefully peaceful elections later this year and seeing this democratic Government, for the first time, hand over to another one, which I think we all hope will be a really historic moment for Pakistan.

Q112Chris White: Thank you. On the other hand, what would it take for you to see aid spending cease, or not increase?

Justine Greening: I have set out where we want to see progress. Human rights are incredibly important, and underpinning all of this, in fact, in any country programme or on any spend, is the need to get value for money-feeling like, and making sure, that what we are doing is pushing forward progress, and helping not just to keep the status quo but change it for the better. There is an element of what my Department does that is humanitarian work. Tomorrow I will be at a donor conference in Kuwait, doing my best to try to help join the calls of many countries to put more money into providing the humanitarian support Syrian refugees need. Yes, we do that, but by and large, on the rest of what we do, I want to see us investing in countries that are moving forward.

Q113Mark Pritchard: I will ask you some questions in a moment on some of the political developments, but just briefly on that point: DFID do excellent work in Pakistan, but one of the criticisms on human rights, in particular, is that it is very genderbased or sexualbased; it is sexual rights, women’s rights. All of those are very, very important, but DFID is perhaps a little shy and a bit more reluctant, perhaps understandably so, arguably, to talk about religious freedom and religious rights. Certainly in my mailbag as a constituency MP people raise the issue of why we are giving so much money to Pakistan and yet they are persecuting the Catholic Church-I am not a Catholic-or other minority faiths incountry, such as the Baha’is or even the very small number of Jewish people who live in the country, believe it or not. I wondered what your views were on that.

Justine Greening: I believe that religious freedom is just as important. It is one of many rights human beings should have.

Q114Mark Pritchard: But specifically, what representations has the Government made to Pakistan, while noting that is a particularly sensitive issue, with assassinations and so on?

Justine Greening: You are right to highlight that it is a very sensitive issue, and it is something that, on a diplomatic level, of course we raise on an ongoing basis. You are right to highlight that it is probably one of the more challenging debates that happens in Pakistan, and I very much hope that as democracy beds down, and maybe as we see a new Government come in to govern later this year, there will be more progress on human rights. You are right; that will not just be perhaps in relation to gender, although it is massively important-it is very difficult to see countries develop effectively when only half the population is able to be part of that-but other rights, like religious freedom. We also have to recognise that these are difficult discussions to have with the Pakistani Government, but they are had.

Mark Pritchard: Thank you very much.

Moazzam Malik: In terms of the issues the Secretary of State has raised, these issues are discussed with the Pakistani authorities very, very regularly. Last week the Secretary of State raised many of these issues with our partners there. We also have a process of roughly every year having aid talks with the Pakistani authorities-mainly with the Federal Government, but we are now beginning to look at how we do something similar with the provincial Governments with which we partner-and those talks cover all of these issues, and our Foreign Office colleagues feed into them.

For example, on human rights, I myself have made, in leading those talks, very robust representations to the Pakistani authorities, not just on gender but also on the treatment of minorities, including religious minorities. The Pakistani counterparts take it on the chin; they know they have work to do to put their house in order on this, and it is a tough old place to work and it will take time. However, we do not pull any punches in having those clear conversations.

In terms of how our resources tie into programmes, as the Secretary of State said, our investment decisions run through individual programmes, and if the Pakistanis do not meet their commitments under those programmes, whether in education, social protection, health or whichever area-if they are short of money, we believe the money is not being well used, or they are making the wrong policy choices-then as good officials we will provide recommendations to the Secretary of State that we should put a stop to those, and indeed we have done.

Justine Greening: Indeed we have, in several programmes where we have felt that they just either have not worked or they have not been in the right direction.

Q115Mark Pritchard: Thank you very much. On the recent political and military developments-the protests in Islamabad, and there have been some pretty serious protests in Karachi and other places-I wonder how that has affected, or how you think it might affect, the DFID work incountry.

Justine Greening: In relation to the march that was instigated by Qadri, I have a couple of observations. One of them was that it showed a debate going on in Pakistan about the relationship between politicians and the public, but also, interestingly, it was ultimately a peaceful march. To my mind, that was a positive sign of a developing democracy-that people could come onto the streets, they could have their say, and then they could go home. That is not always the case, and I take that point. What does it mean for DFID programmes? I think it means that we are right to continue to press on some of the governance reform. I think it means that we are right to have education really centre stage. I also think it means we are right to continue to influence the Government wherever we can, and indeed Opposition politicians, to have a common objective.

The most important thing they all need to agree on is that democracy is the future of Pakistan, and that whatever the outcome of the election, they will all buy into it and they will move forward as a country with a newly elected democratic Government. I suppose I am saying, in a roundabout way, that we obviously take account of things that take place in different parts of Pakistan, and sometimes they will feed into our DFID spend. Broadly, however, I believe we have decisioned the investments more or less where they need to be, including tackling extremism. Therefore I think those sorts of protests demonstrate why we are already doing what we are doing, rather than particularly challenge us to do something fundamentally different.

Q116Mark Pritchard: Thank you. Finally, I obviously do not expect you to discuss security matters openly, but perhaps one of the lessons from Benghazi in Libya, the American lesson, is that whilst those in Tripoli might have received a top-level protection, albeit that was their Department of State, those in other areas, second and third cities, perhaps do not enjoy that same protection, yet the threat might be similarly high. You talked earlier about flexibility in the delivery of the programme. How flexible are the generic security arrangements for DFID staff, given that events so often in Pakistan emerge very quickly?

The threats can emerge very quickly, and they can also reduce very quickly, so I am sure it is a very difficult judgment to make, done in conjunction with other Government Departments. Do you feel at the moment that the advice you receive from other Government Departments who lead on this is sufficient and given in a timely enough manner for you to make the decision that you have to make as Secretary of State?

Justine Greening: I believe that it is. However, I should also point out to the Committee that I do not need to wait to take the steps that I would often take to make sure that I believe DFID staff are appropriately looked after and in secure situations. Yes, there is a process, a flexible one, that is well established, but I am the kind of person who would not necessarily just assume. I would never just assume the process has clicked in; I will always be the one to pick up the phone and proactively make sure.

Secondly, your point about security is well made. One of the meetings I had in Pakistan was to meet with some of the NGOs working on the ground, to talk about some of their challenges. It has been increasingly challenging over recent months to get to some of the areas where we think we can make the biggest difference. That has been difficult for us, because I think on the one hand we absolutely have to make sure that security is in place, but on the other hand there is sometimes a need to slightly push back if we are told, "It is all too difficult, and you cannot do anything in those areas for the foreseeable future."

What we tried to do, and what the NGOs tried to do, is to have a constructive discussion with both national and regional Government about what is appropriate, but you are right that often the work that is done is done under very difficult circumstances, and the people who do it, particularly whether they are NGOs or indeed some of the Government health workers, are people who know about the risks, but believe that what they are doing matters. Therefore they keep getting on with it, as the lady health workers I met in Pakistan told me. I asked them what their response was to, maybe, intimidation or some of the risks they have seen colleagues face. They said, "We just keep on going."

Q117Hugh Bayley: One of the things that struck me very forcibly when we were in Pakistan was the things said by senior people in the military and in the business community that reflected their awareness that India, economically, is surging ahead, and their fear that Pakistan will be left behind. It seems to me that if you want to support the forces of modernisation in Pakistan, you need to do all you can, as you said just a moment ago, to encourage trade and crossinvestment between Pakistan and India. Given that is both an opportunity and so important, why does Britain not do more in that field? Should not DFID be opening up a much more major part of its development co-operation, assisting business and trade and working with the Foreign Office to open up relations between Pakistan and India?

Justine Greening: That was indeed one of the discussions I had, both with Government and Opposition politicians, and, Hugh, it is something that I would like, across the board, us to look at more closely as a Department.

Q118Hugh Bayley: What, for instance, might your Department do to help the forces of economic modernisation in Pakistan drive this agenda forward?

Justine Greening: There are a number of different things you can do. You can look at improving domestic investment. That may be looking at liquidity in the banking sector-to what extent it is easy to get funding. When I was in Jordan on Saturday, I saw a very interesting programme seeking to overcome that for SMEs in Jordan. You can look at whether you set up some kind of a fund that provides an investment fund for businesses. You could, traditionally, provide grants-money to help people start businesses. Interestingly, the Government of Punjab have used a fund to give loans to young entrepreneurs, which is in its early days but looks very successful.

You can also, of course, tap into the huge links and diaspora back here in the UK with Pakistan, and see what we can do to provide inward investment from the UK and to leverage some of those very natural links that our two countries have. Those are the areas in which I am quite interested in looking at what DFID can do. Having said that, as I think when you went to Pakistan, my sense was that the work we are doing is well targeted and broadly well delivered, and it is probably worth me putting on record my thanks to the DFID team in Pakistan for the work they do, because I think it is high quality.

Hugh Bayley: Good. I am pleased to hear that.

Moazzam Malik: Can I add on in terms of the regional agenda? It is a really key agenda. We have worked with our Foreign Office colleagues to make the case with our counterparts in India and Pakistan, and indeed Afghanistan and Central Asia, for the need for regional integration, with some success. We have done some things to help businesspeople talk to each other, so that they can articulate the case for trade to their own policymakers, and through our partnership with the State Bank of Pakistan, one of the things we have been looking at is how we can facilitate banking relations between India and Pakistan, because that has been a key obstacle. At the moment the flow of money, the flow of businesspeople and the flow of goods tend to operate via Dubai, and anything we can do to make those connections more direct would help a lot.

With the World Bank, we are looking at the efficiency of the border crossings across this region, and whether those can be improved, and also power generation and power connectivity, which is a key issue. There is a reasonably advanced plan, to which we have provided some support, to construct transmission lines from Central Asia into Pakistan, to bring the surplus hydro power-so clean energy-in Central Asia down into Pakistan, where they are in big deficit. There is also a debate and discussion under way between the Pakistani and Indian authorities, which we are working on with the World Bank, on connecting the two halves of Punjab with transmission lines. I think there is enormous potential in this area for the future.

Hugh Bayley: Good. I must get back to the prepared script. Thank you for those answers.

Justine Greening: You do not have to go back to the prepared script.

Chair: Spontaneity is of the essence in this Committee.

Q119Hugh Bayley: I am making excuses for myself. I want to go back to the script. How, Secretary of State, would you define the Prime Minister’s golden thread, and how is it reflected in the governance work that your Department does in Pakistan?

Justine Greening: It is about building up institutions that we know are what I would call the building blocks for success: the rule of law, tax collection, having a well functioning court system, having transparency in Government. It is about putting in place all those elements of a well functioning democracy and country that we often take for granted, but when you look at some other countries, and Pakistan is probably one of them, they are not always there, or if they are there, they are there in quite a fledgling state. What we are doing about them is a good question. We are investing in a lot of the transparency and accountability agenda.

We have a project where we help the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa around zerobased budgeting, which was not just about them doing a more effective budget process, although they have done that. It was also about engaging with local communities about what they wanted, and then providing a baseline budget against which they then had to deliver and could be held accountable. We are doing a fair amount of work on that, and we support work on public finance management that takes place at the national level too.

Q120Hugh Bayley: I strongly agree that good governance is necessary for good sustainable development, and I think it has been part of Western aid policy for a good long time. The golden thread is a powerful image and a powerful way of expressing the need for good governance-as we have seen with the African Peer Review Mechanism and other initiatives-but is it new? If so, what has changed in our governance programmes in Pakistan? Or is it simply a statement of the continuing importance of good governance as one of the necessary requirements for good development?

Justine Greening: I think it is the Prime Minister’s clear and correct observation that we can work with countries to try to help them develop, but fundamentally if there is poor governance and poor structures in place, no democracy, poor accountability, poor transparency and high corruption, that will be a difficult situation in which to invest our money and see development take place effectively. What the Prime Minister has rightly tried to do is to start a debate internationally about the fact that these things matter. They will be part of the G8. They are part of the HighLevel Panel work that is going on and the discussion about how they should fit into the Development Framework.

I think many countries support the concept of open economies; there is debate around to what extent open societies is something that everybody can buy into, but it is a debate we should have if we are to make progress on-Mark Pritchard is not here now-some of the important areas like human rights, which we want to see progress made on in particular in Pakistan.

Q121Hugh Bayley: Should we look at it as conditionality? "You will not get aid unless you go a considerable way towards meeting our requirements on good governance?"

Justine Greening: It is one of the approaches you could take. My sense is that you would always need to be careful that it was not a blunt tool. Therefore it is not the approach that the UK Government has taken in relation to our aid. Therefore we have invested in where we think there is the ability to make progress, where it represents good value for money and alongside that, yes, we have been clear on partnership principles that we want to have in place with governments. If you really want to make progress, if it were as simple as saying, "We will give you some aid money, in which case you will then do this," you would have seen a lot more change on the ground.

What it shows is that in having the difficult, often, discussions with countries about why golden thread matters, and why it is in their interest to become more open on many different levels, you genuinely have to win that debate with them. Even if they were to say, "Yes, of course, we will pass this reform; we will pass this Bill," that is not the same as seeing it implemented. Realistically, you need to have a far more broad-based strategy to pursuing the golden thread agenda, in my opinion.

Chair: We have already raised the issue of taxation, and I think we will pursue it a little further, because that is one of the differences.

Q122Fiona O’Donnell: I just want to continue, Secretary of State. It is still January, so I wanted to ask you to look back and to look forward. We have been in Pakistan for some years; what has DFID achieved in terms of improving governance and transparency during that time, and what will you do differently to improve outcomes in the future?

Justine Greening: We have achieved a huge amount in supporting elections and good governance. That is something we will continue to work on with the Pakistani Government. We are working with the Election Commission of Pakistan, for example, to help make sure that we have free and fair elections. We have achieved a huge amount, particularly on health and education, and also supporting infrastructure development, in the past, and I think you will see that continue to work.

Q123Fiona O’Donnell: Sorry, I meant specifically in terms of governance and transparency.

Justine Greening: Going forward, we are working, as I said earlier, more at the provincial level with Governments like the Government of Punjab and also Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. We are also working at the national level too. However, I think we recognise that the overwhelming bulk of that work is on projects like the education projects that we have running, and a lot of the way in which I believe we can see improvements in governance, transparency and accountability is through influencing, and through the relationships that we have with the Pakistani Government on a daytoday basis, through the Foreign Office. Do you want to add to that?

Moazzam Malik: We also have governance and transparency measures built into all our programmes, so for example in our work on education, I talked earlier about meritbased appointment of teachers. That is a governance reform. The publication of budgets: the Secretary of State talked about the outputbased budgeting in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; that is a transparency and governance reform even though it is about money. Similarly, we are working around audits, and we have been doing a lot of work with the Auditor General of Pakistan.

We have a standard requirement in our work in education and health and social transfers that they will be subject to audit, both internal Government of Pakistan systems, as well as external audit. Again, that is about governance and transparency, even though it is about achieving value. In some ways, we are looking at governance and transparency changes right across our portfolio as well as doing the work on elections and some of the headline areas that the Secretary of State mentioned.

Q124Fiona O’Donnell: That is really important for us to be able to tell our constituents, but also the recurring argument we heard in Pakistan was, "I do not pay my taxes because the Government is so corrupt that it does not do any good, so I would rather engage in private philanthropy." Then as long as people are not paying tax, they do not feel they have a stake in holding the Government to account. Secretary of State, in terms of working with other bodies such was the World Bank and the IMF, Pakistan has gone to the IMF to ask for $8 billion, so are you having any discussions about how you can work in partnership with them to improve governance and transparency?

Justine Greening: We had those discussions when I was there. The question, in a sense, is, following up the IMF visit that happened earlier this month, what Pakistan needs to do. They need to follow up that visit and look at some of the reforms that have also been proposed by the IMF, potentially. They also need themselves-I sense, on a crossparty basis-to start to get some agreement on what needs to be reformed, whoever wins, so that you try to take the politics out of what are structural economic challenges that will face whatever government takes over after the next election.

Therefore, everybody knows what these challenges are: they are around the tax base and how you make sure you reform it in a fair way. They are around to what extent you use the existing tax system and make that work better-so there is law there but it is not being used-and to what extent you need to perhaps bring in new laws around better forms of taxation. We do have those conversations, but the thing that struck me is that it will be for political leaders in Pakistan to take those decisions, and it will require a real political will if they are to be taken forward successfully.

Q125Fiona O’Donnell: We can also lead by example. I am aware I have asked you the same question on two separate occasions, but do you support making companies registered on the Stock Exchange here declare what tax they pay in developing countries?

Justine Greening: That is probably more one for the Treasury and BIS to talk about rather than me, but tax transparency is something that we will have as part of the G8 agenda. The PM has been incredibly clearcut about his priority to see companies pay their fare share.

Q126Fiona O’Donnell: It has a direct impact on the economies of developing countries. You must have an opinion as to whether or not that is something that would be desirable.

Justine Greening: Transparency is a good thing, but it needs to be transparency with a purpose rather than transparency for maybe a political campaign here in the UK. I think what we need is an overall strategy for improving tax transparency and making sure that companies pay their fair tax in countries where they are based. In reality, alongside transparency probably needs to sit more international agreements on how to approach this, which is why it is right that we are having it as part of our G8 agenda.

It is not easy to do that. It will be a difficult discussion that happens as part of the G8 around tax and tax transparency, because we all know that there are tax havens. Unless you can broadly get general agreement amongst the international community, then the danger is that you change the tax system somewhere in a way that looks like the right thing to do but does not really make any difference when it comes down to it, because companies will minimise their tax by going elsewhere. I think it needs an international approach. I support transparency, but it needs to be done in a thoughtful way.

Q127Chris White: Going a little bit further on the tax issue, if the donors continue to turn a blind eye to the tax reform, do you think there will be the political will you referred to in your previous answer, particularly after 2013, if the new Pakistani Government does not make substantial progress with tax reform? Do you think this could be a dealbreaker between the new Government and its donors?

Justine Greening: I think donors will expect and hope to see some fast progress in the first 100 days of a new Pakistani Government. It will need to set out its stall about what it wants to achieve in a really clear-cut way. That is not just important to donor countries that are investing in programmes within Pakistan; it is important to the international financial institutions that Pakistan deals with, too.

Q128Chris White: Can I just ask-maybe we know about this; I do not know whether you know about this-when you talk about the first 100 days, are you seeing in anybody’s manifesto that they will be coming down hard on tax and making the reforms necessary?

Justine Greening: I had those discussions with some of the key politicians, and we are waiting to see what will be in their manifestos, but it struck me that there was a political opportunity to show some leadership on the tax agenda. That was needed to.

Q129Chair: Why do you not look them in the eye and say, "I pay taxes in the UK, Mr President, Mr Prime Minister. Are you paying taxes in Pakistan?"

Justine Greening: I was very clear with them that I think it needs to start from the top and work its way down.

Chair: The President does not even file a tax return.

Justine Greening: I cannot comment on and stray into legal issues within Pakistan in relation to particular politicians, but I can assure the Committee that I was very clear that I do think they will need an overall tax strategy, and I do think that has to be seen to apply to everybody, as it does in any country, if it is to be successful.

Q130Mr McCann: I have a Guardian article, Secretary of State, from Saturday that says, "I like to cut through the crap." That is your quote. The Pakistani MPs and people in high positions are behaving completely inappropriately, so is this not one of the instances where we should be cutting through the crap?

Justine Greening: I would like to think that I did get to the point when I was in Pakistan.

Chair: We expect results.

Justine Greening: At the end of the day, you have a democratically elected Government, some elections, and hopefully free and fair elections, that will lead to a new democratically elected Government. Whoever they are, they will have some very difficult decisions to make. I think they all know that tax reform is one of those difficult decisions. Ultimately, we can be clear about what we think is in Pakistan’s interest in terms of growing their tax base and having tax reform, but as I said to Fiona, who is also now not here, it will take political will to put through what will be difficult reforms, and to bring the Pakistani people with them, which is why I think making sure that they apply to everyone is probably an important part of those reforms.

Q131Richard Burden: I mainly wanted to ask you a couple of questions returning to the education theme, but I will just put one or two penn’orth in on the tax issue before I do that. It is really following up the question that Fiona O’Donnell asked you more broadly about transparency issues and perhaps what could be done in this country.

This came up during the Westminster Hall debate that we had on our Report last week, and one of the questions that was asked of your deputy was whether or not you could look at the work that is already being done in relation to overseas territories and Crown dependencies as a model for more broad application as far as UK companies are concerned. I would just ask you to consider that as well as work that may be done internationally; there is work being done by you, by our Government, that could have more broad application, if there was a will to do so.

Justine Greening: I take on board that point, and we will obviously talk to the Minister of State who, I think, responded to the Westminster Hall debate about that work.

Q132Richard Burden: Thank you. In relation to education, you have already said quite a lot about that and I do not want to go over the same things twice. However, if I understood you both correctly, you very much saw the education programme as almost as much a governance programme, securing leverage to ensure that things improve more broadly. Could I ask you about what lessons you draw from the USAID programme that took place in Sindh? One of the things we heard last week was that in many ways that was very, very similar to the UK’s programme in Punjab, and the point was put to us that, even though that was supposed to be sustainable, once the US leadership disappeared from that programme, so did the programme. What do you think are the safeguards against the same sort of thing happening in relation to the Punjab? What is it that we are doing differently from what the Americans did in relation to Sindh?

Justine Greening: Our approach was not quite the same as the USAID approach, and I think Moazzam would like to come in and add some comments. Our approach was probably different in that it was more holistic in its breadth, and there has been, certainly in Punjab, extremely effective political engagement that has now transformed from just political engagement to civil service engagement. The feedback from the officials in Punjab on their experience of being part of this programme is very, very good. For the first time, in some cases, they feel they are getting something done and achieving something. Those sorts of things will stand us in good stead to see sustainability.

However, we do of course talk with other politicians who are not necessarily in power at the moment to help them understand why this programme has been effective, and how it works. You are right to point out, in a way, that, if we want sustainability, we have to think about how we can make a programme be delivered effectively now and get political buyin from political leaders today as well as look ahead and get broader political buyin, not just from current political leaders but perhaps those people who might be taking those decisions in the future. One of the best ways to do that is to have programmes that are so fundamentally effective on the ground, and so fundamentally valued in terms of what they deliver to people, that politically the most sensible thing for any incoming Government to do is to keep it in place. Is there anything you want to add to that?

Moazzam Malik: I could add a couple of words, Secretary of State. It is not really for me to comment on USAID programmes, but obviously in the design of our work we look at our own past experience and the experience of others. The work we are trying to do in Punjab-indeed, in Pakistan across the whole-is unprecedented in terms of both its scale and ambition, but also the breadth. We are working not just in Government schools; we are also working with lowcost private schools. We are working not just on the supply side but, as the Secretary of State said earlier, we are working on the demand side. We are working on the politics of education and how parents can articulate that, so that it is a political and an advocacy issue, not just a "show up and collect your certificate" kind of thing.

The key to the sustainability here comes from building strong publicprivate partnerships, and I think one of the mistakes that may have been made in the past in some places in Pakistan was to work just with the very dynamic private sector and to lose sight of the fact that the public sector had to provide the bulk of the finance. The work we are doing in Punjab is looking at how Pakistani public resources can be used to finance low-cost private schools where they are more efficient and more effective. We already have more than a million children in Punjab being educated through those publicprivate partnerships.

Our resources are of course mingled in with that, but the beauty of having a publicprivate partnership is that if, in whatever circumstances, we needed it to scale down or to withdraw, the publicprivate mix would mean that it was for Pakistani policymakers to continue to provide those resources. Given that our resources are relatively small-or very small: less than a 10% share of Government resources-the marginal call that the public authorities would need to make would be relatively small. We have tried to learn lessons and think hard about how to build sustainability both on the supply side and the demand side. I think it was that that led ICAI to commend our programmes for their breadth and innovation. We think we are having a really good go at this.

Q133Richard Burden: Thank you for that. Obviously we have had some positive evidence about the Punjab programme, as well. If, though, it did seem it was not working, do you have a Plan B there?

Justine Greening: As I mentioned earlier in a response to a previous question, we do have flexibility built into our programme. It is delivered on a number of different levels, at the national level and the provincial level. It is delivered in part alongside Government, but also alongside civil society and the private sector. I do not think we have all our eggs in one basket. The education projects are big, and that is one of the particular things that is probably different about the Pakistan programme. It is at a real scale, and that is intentional, because we know that that is the scale that can truly start to make a difference in terms of schooling in Pakistan.

Just to take Punjab, there are now one million more children enrolled in school as a result of those programmes. Many of those will be little girls, who perhaps otherwise would not have had the chance. We have tried to build in some ability to manage risk, but the focus we have placed on education is one that we think matters, not least because of the demographic profile of Pakistan, but absolutely is a priority shared by the Government, which has declared an "education emergency". They have passed legislation about education for all. That is a good example of where we are pushing in the same direction, and that is one of the reasons why we can hopefully be successful.

Q134Richard Burden: Thank you. Last question: do you have a target timescale for DFID’s own involvement with the Punjab programme? Given that it is based around creating something sustainable, building those partnerships incountry and so on, what is the kind of timeframe you are looking at for DFID’s involvement?

Justine Greening: If Moazzam wants to add something, he will, but at the moment the timescale we are looking at is certainly continuing to support this programme over the next five years or so. It has been immensely successful; we are seeing both the Government sector and the lowcost private sector start to develop. The roadmap has been in place now about 18 months to two years, so in the grand scheme of Government programmes it is still relatively new. We will continue to invest whilst that beds down, I think in the hope that towards the end of that time it will have achieved that kind of sustainability. Of course, in theory, we should be going to the second election, where a democratically elected Government of Pakistan can hand over to a third one, so that may well prove a good time for us to get a sense of whether we have properly seen our programmes bed down.

Moazzam Malik: Most of our large change programmes are in the five- to sevenyear timeframe, through to the late part of this decade, and our judgment is that you do need that length of time. As the Secretary of State emphasised, there is a great deal of flexibility in annual reviews and more regular reviews, so we can adapt to circumstances. It is in that sense that in the real world it is not possible to have a Plan A, which is the master plan, and a Plan B, and it is not the case that one falls and the other rises. It is about having a portfolio that spans ambitious change, and being ready to slow down things when they do not work, but equally to accelerate and scale up where things do work. It is by having that flexibility and working with those opportunities, but being robust about the results and the accountabilities and following our money, that we hope to achieve real change.

Q135Chair: Do you accept that the education programme in Punjab is now very much tied to the Chief Minister, and presumably his party’s election prospects, in the same way that the Benazir Income Support Programme, by very name, is another vote catcher for the PPP? In other words, you are supporting highly political programmes. I am not saying there is anything wrong with the programmes in themselves, but they are very much attached to political platforms.

Justine Greening: I think that what is happening is that they are both examples of very important programmes in Pakistan that, in my opinion, in a good way have been identified by politicians-and this is a democracy, and therefore these are the people who will be taking decisions going forward-as being extremely valuable. I hope that in relation to the education reform roadmap in Punjab, what you are seeing is a virtuous circle there, where you have a programme that has been put in place that is really starting to deliver and has good monitoring behind it-but has a long way to go to continue delivering-absolutely getting the political support that it needs.

On the BISP, as it is shortened down to, the Income Support Programme, again it is a really fundamental reform from the national Government of Pakistan to provide some very limited support to the poorest of the poor. You are talking about people whose household income is approximately £47 per month, and then through this programme they are getting about an additional £7. It generally involves the woman of the household for the first time getting an ID card.

Chair: We met a lot of them.

Justine Greening: She is maybe getting a mobile phone as part of how she receives that. There are some real side benefits there around empowerment and independence-and yes, it is supported by the Government. That support is critical if you are to see those sorts of successful programmes continue. If we see politicians fighting over who can continue them most successfully, it is probably a good sign of success.

Chair: I think we take that point, but they are very political.

Moazzam Malik: For the record, the idea for the Benazir Income Support Programme came from a senior Opposition politician, and the Act of Parliament was passed unanimously by Parliament, so it did have crossparty support, and indeed our discussions with the main Opposition political parties indicate a great deal of commitment to the concept of income support in this very limited sort of way that is playing out in Pakistan.

Q136Chair: Hugh Bayley apologises; he wanted to hear the Mali question. It is unfortunate, I know, but these things come up as an urgent question. There is one point about the education programme and the role of extremists or fundamentalists, and in particular of Jamaate-Islami, which we were told are pretty well pervasive right across the education system. To what extent can you be sure that the education programme is not captured by fundamentalists or extremists-or as a counter to that, to what extent do you believe the education programme is likely to counter that, given that extremism is not just about poverty and lack of inclusion?

Justine Greening: If you look at some of the research, for example by the Brookings Institute, it shows that extremism can be correlated with low educational achievement. As you say, it is more complicated than that, but certainly we know that well educated people will be less likely, perhaps, to rely on what they have been told by others, and they will form their own views. They are also more likely, frankly, to want to have the sorts of opportunities that we all want: to be successful, to have a family, to have a good job, and to feel that that is possible.

We also know, in terms of education, that lack of access to education by lowincome people and minorities has been one of the things that have fuelled grievances, so people have seen betteroff people in Pakistan able to have their kids in school, and they do not have the same opportunity. This element of what we have worked with the Pakistani Government on and the Punjabi Government on, in terms of access, is quite an important part of that. The final stat I wanted to give the Committee is that the proportion of children who go to, as it were, religious schools, is very small in Pakistan. It is around about 2% to 4%.

Q137Chair: But religion is part of the curriculum in all the schools, is it not?

Justine Greening: That may be true, but the point I was just trying to make is that overwhelmingly, children are going to, to all intents and purposes, nonpurely religious schools, so they are either in the state Government schools or they are in the lowcost private sector.

Q138Pauline Latham: It is interesting about the education, but I was very pleased to see that, when you were in Pakistan, you announced a new health programme. Something we were particularly concerned about was poor nutrition in pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, and also in schoolage children. It seemed to us that if you could get the women when they were first pregnant, and help them with nutrition right the way through whilst they were breastfeeding, and then support the children, they would not have the problem when they got to school of being undersized, undernourished, with smaller brains than they should have, and therefore not being able to learn in the same way.

It seemed to us you could do a nutrition programme right the way through, and continue it whilst they are at school, because some of the children we met were barely having one meal per day. Could you tell us if you are working with donors such as the UN World Food Programme and any others to improve the diet of children in Pakistan, from being pregnant right the way through? It is no good just focussing on the schoolage children; it needs to come long, long before that, because their development is so important during their formative months in the womb and afterwards, whilst being breastfed.

Justine Greening: As you pointed out, we are doing investment in those very early days and months and years. We did announce a provincial health and nutrition programme to tackle precisely those sorts of things you talked about, starting from having originally more babies delivered in hospitals, more midwife support and hopefully investment there to mean that there is more immunisation for children, and that hopefully when they, for example, suffer from diarrhoea, which we know can be massively debilitating, there is a higher likelihood of treatment for those children.

I had the chance, when I was there, to meet with a number of lady health workers in Rawalpindi, whose job it is to go out and help with the immunisation programme and also provide that kind of basic advice. They looked like they were very well networked into their communities. Often they would be working in their local communities, so they know the women they are dealing with, they can provide the advice there and then when they wanted it, and that would include the advice to make sure that their children were immunised, and when they were sick they could get them into the local health centre, which was where I was able to go and meet them.

Q139Pauline Latham: So basically you are not particularly working with programmes like the UN World Food Programme to help those children from inception right the way through to school?

Justine Greening: Moazzam is going to answer that question.

Moazzam Malik: We are not directly financing UN nutrition programmes in Pakistan from the DFID pot; we have general DFIDtoUNheadquarters relationships that are helping some of those organisations with their work, but we are not financing it directly in the DFID Pakistan programme. We are working with them closely in policy terms, and indeed with the World Bank very closely in policy terms, as well as with the Pakistani authorities, to try to address nutrition. As you say, this is both a tragedy for the families involved as well as an economic tragedy. The cost of the malnutrition is estimated to be between 1% and 2% of GDP. For a country that is growing at 3% and needs to grow at 7%, that is a criminal waste. We are working with the UN organisations in policy terms on this issue.

Q140Pauline Latham: It is fantastic to have more women having their babies born in hospital, but if they are in an incredibly rural situation, they will not get that. Although that is an ideal, there are not enough hospitals to do it. They would probably therefore use the community midwives, and ICAI’s Pakistan report discovered problems in the relationships between the lady health workers and the community midwives. DFID has supported both of those programmes, quite rightly, and we saw them as well. Now that responsibility for the programmes has been devolved to the provincial level, how has DFID realigned their support to prevent this conflict of interest and the problems of the relationship between the two? There clearly are issues there.

Justine Greening: I can see Moazzam nodding his head, so I will let him come in, but you are right to point out that we are having to make sure and look at how we continue delivery, given the devolution agenda that has happened. We should also take into account, as we are, the fact that having then devolved responsibility and decisionmaking and some budget, at the provincial level you need to see Government capacity, in some cases, build up. That is one of the things we are very conscious of and work to support, to make sure that our programmes can be successful. There is a transition going on, and that transition inevitably means that there is some challenge in making sure that we continue to see our results, in spite of the fact that the Government has engaged in what I think is a really fundamental reform, and the right one. It means we are managing change. Moazzam, would you like to add to that?

Pauline Latham: Also, we heard that some of the women were taking the money but not actually doing the job, so a very, very close watch needs to be kept on that.

Moazzam Malik: The history of these programmes is that they were federal programmes that were set up as vertical programmes. With the devolution that the Secretary of State has just talked about, the responsibilities have been devolved, so the new programme to which you referred is a provincefocussed programme, which covers both community midwives and lady health workers and nutrition services. At the core of that, each of the two provinces has defined a package of essential health services, which spans community midwives as well as referral services, Lady Health Workers, nutrition assistance and so on. Our new support is financing that essential health package, and those health packages have been designed to iron out some of the problems that you referred to. I am confident that, going forward, we will crack that.

In terms of payments and so on, that is an issue we watch very closely, but by and large the Lady Health Workers programme has been hugely successful in taking primary health services to rural communities that do not have hospitals and clinics on their doorstep. It has made a real difference in the quality of poor women’s lives, so it has been very, very effective, and again we have evaluations over many years to demonstrate its success.

Q141Chair: We were told that the lady health workers got PKR8000 per month, flat, to do the job, whereas the community midwives got PKR3000 and then so much per delivery. Some of them were saying that they could make quite a lot of money out of it; the younger ones worried that they could not, but clearly there is a difference between basic pay and then having to do something to top it up, and a flat rate. If you are well motivated and want to do it, a flat rate is fine, but if you are not, who is there to make sure you do the work? We saw a particularly good team-I think they were sistersinlaw-of a lady health worker and a community midwife working together, but, from what we heard, that is the exception rather than the rule.

Justine Greening: Which is why monitoring and evaluation of programmes matters hugely, so that we can learn from the different ways in which you are seeing healthcare delivered in this case, and get a sense of what is the right way to structure those programmes, including staff salaries, so that they are delivered successfully.

Q142Fiona O’Donnell: Just to reinforce what Pauline Latham was saying, we know studies have been done in this country about raising children’s achievement through access to nutrition and water as well, and looking at whether investing in training for teachers or investing in nutrition and access to water would make the greater difference might be worthwhile. I am sorry, Mr Malik, if you answered this; I did not catch the beginning of your answer to the previous question about the announcement you made while you were in Pakistan. I wonder if you could give us a bit more detail about how you are scaling up: what is new and what is different about what you will be doing in terms of maternal health? Is it more money, more midwives? What are the details?

Justine Greening: It is a scaleup of the general programme that we have. In a sense it matches some of the scaleup we have done around education, where we have a sense of what works, so we are not creating things from scratch, but what we are doing is taking what works and doing more of it. It is predominantly a scaleup of what is already there-what we have done with the Pakistani Government. Since 2002, for example, we have doubled the number of lady health workers. It is about continuing to scale up that work over time.

Q143Fiona O’Donnell: So what are the figures? How many more midwives? How much more are we spending?

Justine Greening: I do not have those numbers on me today; I am quite happy to pass them on to the Committee, if that is of interest.

Chair: That would be helpful.

Fiona O’Donnell: That would be good, thank you.

Q144Fiona Bruce: I have a question about the UK Pakistani community, and whether DFID has a particular relationship with that community. I understand that they send remittances of £627 million a year over to Pakistan, supporting schools and so forth. Have you considered, apart from any coworking you also do, perhaps using some of the UK Pakistani diaspora to monitor DFID programmes in Pakistan where there are no DFID staff?

Justine Greening: I am not sure that has been something we have formally considered in the Department. I am sure Moazzam can say if that is incorrect. The diaspora is a large one; I think I am right in saying that there are well over one million Pakistanis living in the UK now.

Fiona Bruce: That is right; 1.27 million.

Justine Greening: It is probably one of the largest diasporas we have, and the role they can play is advocating in Pakistan for development, in areas like education and health, and probably advocating in the UK on behalf of Pakistan, and talking about some of the challenges that country faces but also how it is steadily moving forward. As you say, critically, this flow of remittances in relation to Pakistan’s financial health is such a significant part of the cashflow that comes into that country. Hugh Bayley asked about some of the private-sector opportunities and investment opportunities. That is probably a further strand of interest and activity that the Pakistani diaspora can have some involvement in.

I think they have a very important role to play. I am sure that for some of the accountability work we do within Pakistan and getting the feedback loops from local communities to DFID to tell us whether our projects are working as intended, and whether money, for example, is getting to the people it is intended for, some of the feedback channels will be through diaspora communities here in the UK. That is why our engagement with them is important.

Moazzam Malik: You suggested that DFID staff are unable to get to our projects, and I wanted to dispel that sense. Our staff are able to go and monitor our projects. We use thirdparty validation, and we have a range of instruments, both our own staff time but also other instruments, to monitor and verify what is being done and achieved through our projects. Of course part of that relies on Pakistani organisations to provide us with the feedback.

The Secretary of State has already talked about some of the conversations that we have had with the British Pakistani diaspora. We meet them regularly, and indeed in many of our project teams-both in our own office as well as in many of the project teams in Lahore and Peshawar and elsewhere-we have a fair few British Pakistani staff, and they are really adding great value. That is a very valuable human resource that we have there.

Q145Fiona Bruce: One short final question. I just wondered about the number of DFID programmes in Kashmir. Apparently many of the UK Pakistani community come from Kashmir, and I wondered whether that was a factor in your considering whether you could support that part of the country.

Moazzam Malik: The portfolio and the operational plan have been designed around needs and returns. Whilst there are important links between the British diaspora community and Kashmir, the number of people in Azad Kashmir is relatively small, and they are also relatively better off, and hence we do not have a long string of DFID programmes. However, we are thinking about how, over time, we evolve the national footprint in education. That is the one area in which I think we may end up doing something in due course, if the Secretary of State agrees with that, but we have talked to the AJK authorities. Historically, of course, in the aftermath of the earthquake, we had a very, very large humanitarian operation in Azad Kashmir, and a very large, very successful reconstruction operation in Azad Kashmir, too.

Fiona Bruce: Just to clarify, I think these particular questions came out of a visit that some of the Members of the Select Committee made to the Pakistani community in Derby.

Justine Greening: Thank you.

Q146Chair: That did, but we also had evidence here. I think it is interesting what both of you have said about the role of the British diaspora, either in monitoring and informing you, or in some cases participating. What has been said to us is that they feel that there could be perhaps more structure to that. Some of them say, "We could do more, we could help more, if we knew how to do it." I suspect we might make some recommendations along those lines, but I do not know if you want to add anything about that.

Justine Greening: I agree. I have the Department working on a piece of work to look at some of these key diaspora groups and how we can engage and work with them in a more, as you say, structured way. Britain is now a very diverse country, and we need to use that diversity and turn it to our advantage. The DFID budget and its natural links between diasporas here and perhaps home communities are links we should seek to strengthen. That is a piece of work that I have the Department looking at, and I would be very interested in any recommendations or indeed ideas that the Committee has about how we might go about that effectively.

Chair: That is helpful. In the last Parliament we had a similar plea from the Bangladeshi community, I have to say.

Justine Greening: Yes.

Q147Pauline Latham: I was just going to say, having arranged the visit in Derby, if any of the DFID staff members want to speak to them, I can certainly make sure that they are put in touch with the people who were very strong in their recommendation that they would love to help the Government do anything they can to make aid more effective.

Justine Greening: I very much appreciate that offer, and we will take you up on it.

Moazzam Malik: I should say we have talked to British Pakistani communities in London and outside London. I have gone up to Birmingham myself, and we have had some discussions in Manchester and elsewhere.

Pauline Latham: We have quite a strong community in Derby.

Moazzam Malik: We would be delighted to speak with them.

Chair: Can I, Mr Malik and Secretary of State, thank you very much for coming in? I think you will appreciate that there are a lot of issues to wrestle with in Pakistan, but, as you have said, there is opportunity. A point that was made many, many times is that the links between Britain and Pakistan are indissoluble. That is not an issue at all; it is a question of how effectively they can work together for the best benefit of poverty reduction and delivering a better quality of life for the people of Pakistan. That is what we are interested in-as you are, of course-but it is making sure that what we do works and delivers results. Thank you very much indeed.

Prepared 3rd April 2013