Pakistan - International Development Committee Contents

Conclusions and recommendations

The case for reform

1.  Nevertheless, however critical our witnesses were of the failings of successive Pakistan governments to deliver development, all agreed that the UK should maintain a development assistance programme. We agree that DFID should have a bilateral programme in Pakistan which has an important strategic position in the world, strong ties with the UK and its stability and prosperity is currently in question. (Paragraph 39)

2.  It is for the Pakistan federal and provincial governments to shape reform programmes and institutions to improve public services and alleviate poverty. DFID has a role to play working alongside the federal and provincial governments. (Paragraph 40)

3.  DFID's development assistance should be conditional on the Pakistan authorities committing to and implementing economic reforms and policy changes that will foster inclusive economic and social development. (Paragraph 41)

DFID's current governance and security projects

4.  We commend DFID's anti-corruption aspirations but recommend that in its response to us DFID should:

   confirm that:

o  the Pakistan Government remains committed to an anti-corruption strategy and programme led by the National Accountability Bureau

o  once appointed, the Bureau's principal officers cannot be dismissed by the President, Government, Parliament or the armed forces of Pakistan,

o  the Bureau has the budget and power to investigate, charge and prosecute people without seeking approval from the President, Government, Parliament or armed forces of Pakistan;

  set out measurable targets to see if its investment in anti-corruption is having the desired, positive effect;

  indicate at what point monitoring and evaluation will take place to determine whether DFID and the Government of Pakistan's investment in anti-corruption is being achieved.

  hold discussions with the Commonwealth Secretary General about what further steps the Commonwealth can take to help all Commonwealth Governments to reduce corruption. (Paragraph 53)?

5.  We are concerned that DFID's anti-corruption targets do not include bringing public officials accused of corruption to court and securing convictions and sentences against those found guilty. (Paragraph 54)

Tax reform

6.  We recommend that DFID work with other donors to encourage Pakistan to make progress on tax policy and revenue collection and seek to ensure this is a high priority for all donors. We further recommend that the UK Government use its influence in the IMF to ensure this institution presses for reforms to Pakistan's tax system. The UK Government also should be ready to support the new Pakistan government in implementing a nationwide, strategic communication plan to explain the need and benefits of the desired tax policy changes so as to help the authorities to build political momentum for reform within Pakistan. (Paragraph 60)

The 'Golden Thread'

7.  Pakistan is a country where the Golden Thread is lacking - there is corruption, a frequent absence of the rule of law and low tax collection. We were surprised that addressing these important failings does not seem to be the main focus of DFID's governance work. We recommend DFID review and re-design the DFID Governance programme to support key Pakistani reformers to design and deliver a credible reform programme, involving increases in revenue collection, applying the rule of law and reducing corruption. (Paragraph 63)

DFID's education projects

8.  The connections between education and extremism are unclear. The UK Government believes that education will counter extremism, but others are sceptical. Nevertheless, recruitment into a jihadist movement would seem likely to be easier where there is hardship, poverty and unemployment. (Paragraph 83)

9.  All are agreed that it is vital that the quality and coverage of education is dramatically improved in Pakistan. The Punjab Road Map looks to be a good project, but DFID will need to be able to adapt it should there be a change in Chief Minister with a successor less enthusiastic about the programme. A similar US programme in Sindh failed once the US withdrew funding. To help ensure this does not happen in Punjab and that the programme is sustainable, DFID should continue to help the Government of Punjab build widespread public support for an improved education policy and programme. The aim is to build informed demand from parents and an accountable response from education managers and the teaching profession that continues from one political administration to the next. (Paragraph 84)

10.  We are concerned by the quality of education provided by the schools we visited in Punjab, but are pleased that DFID's Punjab education programme has planned improvements to teacher quality and action against corruption of the examination system. DFID should report regularly on progress in improving the quality of education. (Paragraph 85)

DFID's health projects

11.  DFID needs to look carefully at its health programme following the ICAI criticism. We have not seen enough of a change in the design of the Maternal and Newborn Health programme to be reassured that the problems identified by ICAI at the national level will not just be replicated at the provincial level - mainly the interaction and relationship between the Community Midwives and Lady Health Workers. We support the basis of both programmes so are not asking for the funding to be stopped for either but that the remuneration packages and way of working are made complementary not competitive. (Paragraph 95)

12.  We welcome DFID's recognition of the need to improve the nutrition of mothers and new born children in Pakistan. However we are unconvinced that 'scaling up' the Lady Health Worker interventions is the solution until we see evidence of the redesign of the health programmes as suggested by ICAI. We ask DFID in its response to explain what has been done to date to rectify the issues. In addition we would like to receive information on the progress towards a food fortification intervention programme. (Paragraph 96)

UK Pakistani Diaspora

13.  We recommend that DFID explore innovative ways of working with the UK Pakistani diaspora:

?  to improve the effectiveness of the development assistance programme, in particular by involving the diaspora in monitoring projects; and

?  to align, where appropriate, diaspora funding and remittance flows to Pakistan with DFID supported programmes. (Paragraph 102)

Flexibility to respond to political events

14.  We recommend that DFID ensures that its programmes have sufficient flexibility to respond to future political events especially following the elections due to be held in May this year. (Paragraph 105)

15.  We are concerned that DFID funding for the Benazir Income Support Programme and the Punjab Education programmes may lead some in Pakistan to believe that DFID is working unwittingly for selected Pakistan political parties, albeit these major programmes support different parties. In its response to this report, DFID should state how it will dispel such perceptions before Pakistan's forthcoming elections. (Paragraph 110)

Gender and Violence against women

16.  It is essential that DFID makes the position of women and girls central to its work and that gender analysis and action is at the core of its Pakistan programme. As noted in our 2012 report on development in Afghanistan, the position of women is a key development indicator. We recommend that DFID establish a gender advisory group made up of Pakistani women . We believe it should include women like Mariam Bibi. The group would advise on the impact of development work on women and explore where DFID could do more. We will continue to monitor the progress of women's role and inclusion in development in Pakistan. (Paragraph 115)

The Pakistan government and its progress on reform

17.  If the political system in Pakistan continues to be characterised by corruption, insufficient tax collection, poor human rights and a failure to protect minorities, the effectiveness of donor supported programmes will always be undermined. We recommend that:

  the UK use its influence with the IMF to ensure that any additional loans are contingent upon prior commitments and action by the Government of Pakistan to meet clear conditions and targets;

  the UK Government communicate clearly to the Pakistan authorities the conditions under which UK development assistance will either increase or be reduced;

  DFID only increase official development assistance expenditure to the planned £464 million per annum if there is clear evidence that the newly elected Pakistan administration will increase tax revenues in general and income tax, in particular, and if it subsequently succeeds in increasing the amount of tax taken; and

  If the Pakistan Government is unwilling to take action to increase its revenues and improve services for its people, it cannot expect the British people to do so in the long run. We cannot expect the citizens of the UK to pay taxes to improve education and health in Pakistan if the Pakistan elite is not paying income tax. (Paragraph 119)

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Prepared 4 April 2013