Security, Oversight Issues Hamper US Civilian Work in Pakistan, Report Says

The U.S. government’s civilian-led strategy in Pakistan is facing challenges in program monitoring, aid worker security and curtailing fraud, a report by inspectors general for the U.S. Agency for International Development, Department of State and Department of Defense finds.

The report examines the progress and oversight of the U.S. civilian assistance program in Pakistan from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2010.

For fiscal 2010, the U.S. Congress appropriated USD1.514 billion for the strategy, which was authorized under the USD7.5 billion Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009, along with other assistance funds. Some USD3.93 billion for fiscal 2009, 2010 and 2011 was obligated to support infrastructure, humanitarian and social services, and capacity building of government institutions, according to the U.S. embassy in Pakistan.

The fourth quarterly report notes that progress on the U.S. civilian strategy in Pakistan has been “difficult to measure” as USAID, the largest contributor to the assistance program, has not yet identified a set of performance indicators, which is “traditionally required for proper project management.” Likewise, the U.S. embassy in Islamabad has yet to commit to a set of development indicators that will measure the success of the strategy, the report adds.

Moreover, inadequate staffing of USAID’s Pakistan mission has made program monitoring “increasingly challenging.”

USAID, however, conducts pre-award assessments of local implementing partners to enhance the monitoring and oversight of its programs. These assessments help to determine whether local institutions can properly manage USAID-funded programs. USAID has awarded a total of USD1.361 billion to governmental and non-governmental institutions in Pakistan as of Dec. 31, 2010.

Meanwhile, the inspector general with the State Department has established an office in Pakistan, while that with USAID has expanded the agency’s presence there.

USAID OIG has also vetted independent Pakistani accounting firms that will conduct financial audits of funds provided to Pakistani non-governmental organizations.

During the period covered by this report, USAID OIG completed four audits, of which two dealt with livelihood development programs in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. These two audits led USAID to terminate a contract awarded to the U.S.-based Academy for Educational Development after uncovering fraud stemming from false statements and claims, performance issues, and violation of statutory or regulatory provisions contained in the agreement.

AED has also been suspended from receiving new U.S. government awards pending the completion of the investigation.

Read more about U.S. development aid.

About the author

  • Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.