Friday, February 20, 2009

CIDA Internal Audit finds irregularities

A CIDA program that doled out almost $500 million over a 10-year period to thousands of Canadian companies for development projects has been slammed in an internal audit that found the vast majority of projects weren't actually implemented.

According to the internal evaluation conducted last year and quietly released on the aid agency's website in December, CIDA-INC disbursed $1.1 billion in support of Canadian private sector initiatives in developing countries from 1978 to 2005. A total of 8,138 proposals were approved and funded.

However, the evaluation team found that only 972 projects had actually been implemented, raising serious questions about what happened to the hundreds of millions of dollars that were disbursed.

The evaluation team looked specifically at 721 projects approved between 1997 and 2002, finding that only 112—about 15.5 per cent—had been implemented, while 188 had shown no signs of progress in three years and the remainder hadn't gotten off the ground.

No Call For Tied Aid

For decades, Canada and other donor countries sought to ensure maximum domestic benefit for their aid dollars by stipulating that companies or products from their own countries benefit through the contracts. This is called "tied aid" and, in recent years, there have been moves to untie aid to ensure instead maximum benefit for the recipient country.

Some more info on CIDA :

Call for overhaul of CIDA strikes chord: senator
The Liberal Government Boondoggles Go On and On

It is significant that some of Canada's largest and most lucrative companies receive grants from CIDA under its controversial Industrial Cooperation Program. Bombardier, Trans Canada Pipelines and SNC Lavalin, for example, have all received millions of dollars from CIDA between 1996 and 1999. Significantly, they are among companies which have given generous contributions to the Liberal party. (See Reality, November/December, 1997, "CIDA's Gender Seeking Opportunities Abroad," p. 13.)

According to MP, Keith Martin, the Reform Party's Foreign Affairs Critic, these examples of the financial incompetence of CIDA are only "the tip of a very large iceberg."

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