When U.S. President Barack Obama visits Indonesia this week, he is expected to pledge some USD700 million in redirected funding from the Millennium Challenge Corp. for environmental programs in the Asian nation. Such use of MCC financing is a blow to Indonesia’s leading exports and “a severe misuse” of U.S. taxpayers’ money, a think tank argues.
“MCC aid money will be slated for ceasing deforestation; that’s an assault on the livelihoods of millions of Indonesians. And this misguided charity will destroy key sectors of Indonesia’s economy, namely forestry and agriculture. In addition, this supposed helping-hand is being extended at the same time the U.S. is imposing tariffs and duties on Indonesia’s most widely-traded products,” according to a press release from the Frontiers of Freedom, a conservative U.S. think tank.
Using the MCC funding to curb commercial forestry and reduce emissions is beyond the agency’s mission, the organization adds.
“The agency was created to fund programs that reduce poverty and foster economic development. Expending MCC funds like this, though, not only damages Indonesia’s leading exports, but also is a severe misuse of U.S. taxpayer money,” the press release states. “With [USD]7.4 billion already dispersed from MCC’s coffers worldwide since 2004, this diversion of funds simply does not fit the agency’s bill.”
“Frontiers of Freedom urges President Obama to continue carrying the pro-growth messages he relayed in India onto Indonesia. His use of government agencies like MCC to impose ideological views, and those shared by his environmental supporters, on developing nations is ill-advised. Furthermore, President Obama’s stimulus and attempts to pass environmental legislation have rightfully failed here in America. Let us all hope the president does not try to inflict the same sort of damage on Indonesia’s people and economy under the guise of international aid. The poor in other countries should now not have to live with these bad policies,” the release concludes.