USAID projects to improve basic needs: Dr.Andrew

ISLAMABAD: The USAID projects this year received half abillion less funds as promised under Kerry Lugar Berman bill that authorized $1.5 billion annually for five years to promote and enhanced strategic partnership with Pakistan.Instead of $1.5 billion during 2011, the USAID could get only $947.2 million due to across the board cut on internationalassistance by the US government.Although USAID spent $1.321 billion in 2010 and $1.147 billionduring 2009 but was facing shortage of funds during 2011 due tofinancial constraints in Washington this year.

USAID Pakistan Mission Director Dr.Andrew B. Sisson in aninterview with APP said despite constraints in the funds, the USAID has been providing financial assistance to Pakistan in various sectors.He explained that during 2010 and 2011 the USAID Pakistanfunding is being used for stabilization, education, energy,humanitarian assistance, health, earthquake reconstruction, socialassistance, agriculture, economic growth and governance.He said the US response to the catastrophic flooding was themost immediate and visible focus of US assistance during 2010.In close cooperation with Pakistani civilian and militarycounterparts, the US was “first in, with the most” among theinternational donors.

He explained that USAID has provided over $547 million forrelief and recovery efforts.USAID’s assistance has focused onproviding shelter, food, water, health services, and essentialsupplies to affected communities and displaced families.”We work closely with Pakistan government, business community,civil society and NGOs for effective utilization of the USAIDfunds,” he added.Dr. Andrew said,”Main purpose of USAID projects in Pakistan isto help develop Pakistan and for the better future of people livinghere.””We have had excellent cooperation and it is a continuousprocess with Pakistan government and civil society,” he added.He said energy sector is now at top of the list of the USAIDprojects and during 2011 an amount of dollars 254 million wereallocated only in energy sector as compared to dollars 86.5 millionspent in 2010.

He said, “We are also planning to provide assistance for bigenergy projects like Bhasha Dam, Satpara Dam and Gomal Zam projectsthat will generate bulk of electricity.”He said USAID had also been working for the up gradation ofTarbela Dam which is also a big project to reduce energy crisis inPakistan.Referring to another project for energy sector, Dr. Andrewsaid, USAID has also launched a project to improve tube well motorsin Pakistan that will save 1000 MW of electricity.He said so far USAID has reached to 1000 farmers in thisregard and the initial target is to reach 11,000 farmers.Regarding assistance for Agriculture sector, the USAIDPakistan Mission Director said following the last year floods, USAIDprovided seeds to the farmers well in time that helped them toincrease wheat crop this year.

Another important project is up gradation of mango farmers andenables them to export Pakistan’s most delicious mangos tointernational market including America and Europe.”Horticulture and dairy development will be the nextimportant segments in the rural areas of Pakistan, where USAID wouldprovide technical and financial assistance,” he added.He said USAID experts would also help Pakistan in improvingits Agriculture Policy Reforms so that the potential available inagriculture sector could be utilized in a better way.”The irrigation system improvement was another importantsector, where USAID will help Pakistan with the help ofInternational Food Policy Research Institute. – Brecorde