Debate

Reduce the development assistance budget and follow up on taxpayers' money

Several cases of failed aid projects show that Sida cannot ensure that the aid money goes where it is supposed to. For this reason, the development assistance budget should be reduced and a larger part of the development assistance money will go to making the necessary investments in Sweden, says Andreas Celan, the Moderate Youth Association in Uppsala.

Sweden's development assistance budget in 2021 amounted to approximately SEK 44 billion. This year it has decreased slightly unlike previous years thanks to the Corona pandemic. The primary purpose of Sweden's development assistance is to improve the living conditions of those who are poor. With such a large bag of money as Sweden has, the obvious question of whether we have the resources and capacity to follow up on whether the purpose of the development assistance money is complied with also follows. The following examples show that development assistance money goes to ineffective projects. Taxpayers will probably not be happy to hear about it Rwanda's sponsorship contract with Arsenal for hundreds of millions of kronor when Sweden donated 230 million in aid the following year. They will probably not be happy that it's 2014 either SEK 54 million was paid out for a sugar cane plantation in Tanzania who never managed to plant a single sugar cane plant. Another recent example is from climate work in Kenya 2019 where Auditor General Edward Ouko in his report writes to the Kenyan parliament that it has not been possible to report where one billion kronor has gone in the 2017/2018 financial year. Three years later, the same thing happened with SEK 245 million without the possibility for Sida to conduct an audit.

Aid expert Bo Göransson, who has also been head of Sida before, says that research shows that there is very little connection between economic growth and development assistance. Instead, it is institutions and the private sector that create jobs and make the economy stable. Swedish development aid policy must simply be fundamentally reformed to protect taxpayers' money.

Sweden's total development assistance corresponds to one percent of (GNI), which has been determined by the government. We have long been one of the largest donors, but in a situation where we have Swedish companies that risk going bankrupt, municipalities that run a deficit and a welfare that is crackling, the question is whether the aid budget should instead be smaller. Above all, to be able to make the investments that are necessary in Sweden, but also for the development assistance money to do as much good as possible in the world, with the opportunity to follow up every single Swedish tax crown. It is fundamental to ensure that Swedish taxpayers' money will really make a difference and that in this way we ensure that the money does not disappear anywhere along the way. This does not mean that Sweden will not continue to be a great power. It is basically a matter of efficiency and guaranteeing the greatest possible benefit for each tax krona invested. Something that is not really controversial.

Although aid money has gone to very good things, such as increasing the participation and influence of young people in politics and democracy in 16 African countries and strengthening the economic empowerment of women through support for small and medium-sized enterprises in Bangladesh, we can not avoid the fact that Swedish development aid money also goes to corrupt states with completely different interests than helping civil society. This is where the problem lies and here the government is doing far too little. Corruption and suspected corruption linked to aid must lead to immediate sanctions.

There are no exact figures on how much of the Swedish aid goes to other purposes, but there are many indications that Swedish taxpayers' money also goes to ineffective projects with regard to the above and that Sweden, for example, is a donor to countries such as Somalia and Sudan. at the top of the corruption scale is even more worrying.

Sida has an important task in finding out where and to what extent corruption occurs. We must keep taxpayers' money tight and not give it to greedy politicians who only intend to benefit their own needs. Therefore, aid to corrupt states must be frozen, but before that clear requirements should have been set for reporting where the aid money has gone somewhere and how it plans to use it. Otherwise, the risk increases that, with such a large development assistance budget as Sweden has, we will lose control over the follow-up of development assistance money.

Today, a very large part of the development assistance budget is under Sida's control, the follow-up of where the money goes is deficient at the same time as we are struggling with major societal problems in Sweden. The development assistance budget needs to be sharply reduced because we know in no uncertain terms that tax evasion will not stop. A better and more equitable development assistance policy is currently about using a larger part of the development assistance money to make the necessary investments in Sweden and for people around the world, provided we have the opportunity to follow up the work properly. Then we make a real difference for poor people at the same time as we use the precautionary principle in the distribution of taxpayers' money.

This is a debate article. The author is responsible for analysis and opinions in the text.

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