Local Pakistani contractors not reliable for receiving US aid: Expert

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Washington, Oct.12 (ANI): Amid the wide spread discontent over the Kerry Lugar Bill which would triple non-military aid to Pakistan, US Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Hollbrooke is pushing to shift US aid from American contractors to local Pakistani organizations, which according to an American diplomat would 'seriously compromise' efforts to stabilize Pakistan.

Stuart Callison, an economist with the U.S. Agency for International Development, in his memo has highlighted that Holbrooke's effort to cancel the programs being run by U.S. contractors and bypass them by giving large sums to local organizations with questionable financial track records would seriously dent Washington's initiatives to help Pakistan out of the crises it is facing.

While both Holbrooke and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton maintain that they want to reduce the reliance on American firms, as they believe too much of the money is being wasted upon overheads, security and expatriate salaries, a study report has revealed that the U.S. aid effort in Afghanistan was ineffective in part because of an over reliance on local contractors, The USA Today reports.

The Pakistan government has been pressing the Obama Administration to reduce the role of American contractors while complaining that the US contractors absorb nearly 45 percent of the aid.

Callison, however, underlined there were very few Pakistani firms or charities that can actually comply with the accounting and anti-corruption measure set-up by Washington.

"Shifting money from U.S. contractors already on the ground to local groups without an appropriate transition period will seriously compromise the more important requirements for quick counterinsurgency and economic impacts," he added. (ANI)

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