Zardari claims fool-proof system evolved for Pak flood aid utilization

Karachi, Sept 10 (ANI): Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has said that a fool-proof system has been evolved for ensuring transparency and accountability in distribution of aid, in wake of the devastation caused by floods in the country.

"The government is deeply conscious of the fact that the success of the relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction operation depends on the trust of the donors that their donations are utilised for the purpose and the confidence of the victims that every penny meant for them is being spent on them," the Daily Times quoted Zardari, as saying during a meeting with the World Bank vice president for the South Asian region, Isabel Guerrero.

Talking about the new system, Zardari noted that since access to information was the key to transparency, "every citizen will have access to all relevant information on the web about the source and quantum of aid, whether in cash or in kind received and its onward distribution through various agencies and government departments."

The president said that all international aid should be routed through government agencies, and that the Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which was the highest authority monitoring public finances, was placed under the leader of the opposition "for the first time in the country's history."

Zardari stressed that Pakistan valued its long-standing relationship with the World Bank, and urged the group to make a global appeal for donations from the international community, pointing out that the damage caused by the floods was "far too great for Pakistan to manage on its own".

"Pakistan is in critical need of international financial and technical assistance and the World Bank should explore new financing avenues for energy projects," he said, adding that the country was already facing an acute energy crisis when the floods caused huge damage to the existing energy infrastructure and worsened the situation.

Noting that deprivation would only help in fuelling extremism, he said, "Any delay in the aid will further compound the problem of poverty and not auger well for the fight against militancy."

Zardari's spokesperson Farhatullah Babar, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Malik Hammad, Finance Secretary Salman Siddique, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, Secretary General to the President Salman Farooqui and Secretary to the President Malik Asif Hayat also attended the meeting. (ANI)

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