COMMONS

Secret Advice Compromises Government's Decision on Burundi

03 February 2012

The Government has failed to provide the International Development Committee with a full explanation of why it did not accept the proposal to scale up the Burundi programme to make it viable which was put forward by the DFID Burundi office state MPs in reply to a Government Response published by the International Development Committee today

Government Response: Closure of DFID's Aid Programme in Burundi (PDF PDF 96 KB)
Inquiry: The Closure of DFID's Aid Programme in Burundi
International Development Committee 

Comments from the Chair

Malcolm Bruce MP, Chairman of the International Development Committee, said:

“I have written to the Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell to express my disappointment that the Government disagrees with our main recommendation that it reconsider its decision to end its bilateral programme in Burundi.

The Government still has not provided us with a full explanation of why it did not accept the proposal to scale up the Burundi programme to make it viable which was put forward by the DFID Burundi office in its submission of June 2010 to the Bilateral Aid Review. DFID was unable to show us the submission, even in confidence. Our analysis is only as good as the evidence on which it is based and DFID has not fully explained the reasoning behind this decision.

I am also disappointed that the Government response comments on the way particular Members voted. Government responses do not normally do this, nor should they. The report was not unanimous, and there is no need for further comment."

The Committee did welcome parts of the Government Response, in particular the acceptance of the Committee’s recommendation on the need to ensure a responsible exit strategy, including continued support for Burundi through regional and multilateral channels. It also welcomes the Government’s willingness to consider creating a programme to help Burundi take advantage of regional integration initiatives such as Trade Mark East Africa.

Background

The letter from the Chairman of the Committee to the Secretary of State for International Development is attached:

Dear Andrew

The International Development Committee welcomes the Government’s response to the Committee’s Tenth Report of Session 2010-12 on The Closure of DFID’s Bilateral Aid Programme in Burundi.

Naturally, we are disappointed that the Government disagrees with our main recommendation that it reconsider its decision to end its bilateral programme in Burundi, but are pleased both that you agree about  the need to ensure a responsible exit strategy, including continued support for Burundi through regional and multilateral channels, and that the Government is willing to consider creating a programme to help Burundi take advantage of regional integration initiatives such as Trade Mark East Africa.

However, we do have a number of concerns. Government responses do not normally, nor should they, comment on the way particular Members voted. The report was not unanimous, and there is no need for further comment.

We would also like to point out that the Government still has not provided us with a full explanation of why it did not accept the proposal to scale up the Burundi programme to make it viable which was put forward by the DFID Burundi office in its submission of June 2010 to the Bilateral Aid Review. As you will recall, you felt you were unable to show us the un-redacted submission, even in confidence. Our analysis is only as good as the evidence on which it is based and DFID has not fully explained the reasoning behind this decision.

Yours sincerely

Malcolm Bruce

Further Information

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