Monday, January 18, 2016 6:24 am
Endemic corruption in Nigeria, which President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to kill before it kills all Nigerians, has emerged the big culprit in holding back an aid package from the European Union.
The £26.8million aid package incidentally is earmarked to assist Nigerian efforts to combat corruption. Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had benefitted from such aids in the past as its work is grossly underfunded by Nigeria’s government.
But the EU has developed cold legs in releasing the money, which in the local currency is worth N7, 621, 693, 071. EU fears it will be siphoned off by corrupt Nigerian officials.
News about the frozen aid fund emerged in a report by members of European Parliament in Brussels, which shows that half the money the European Union spends on aid is wasted, stolen or held up by incompetence.
The study by MEPs responsible for auditing EU spending found that £11.5billion of the £23billion doled out by Brussels each year fails to achieve its stated aims.
Ingeborg Graessle, chairman of the European Parliament’s committee on budget control, said the EU was ‘effectively throwing money down the toilet’.
The senior German MEP called for a wide-ranging review of the way Brussels spends aid money.
She told the Sunday Times: ‘Hundreds of thousands of people flee to Europe from countries where we are spending billions without any apparent effect.
‘Year after year, funds are committed to obscure projects in what is effectively throwing money down the toilet. We need an urgent revision of spending, independent scrutiny and a clear procedure to actually measure what we are achieving.’
Miss Graessle said more than 900 aid projects worth £11.5billion are either significantly delayed or will fail to achieve their objectives.
She warned that her findings may be the ‘tip of the iceberg’, as some embassies are suspected of ‘sugar-coating’ reports to make the projects appear more successful.
The European Parliament’s committee on budget control is due to report this week on the EU’s £23billion aid budget.
Britain’s share of EU spending is 11.8 per cent, which equates to about £2.7billion. The report will say: ‘Every second euro spent does not achieve what it pays for.’
The study will raise fresh UK concerns about the size of the aid budget and its use. The report is expected to warn that vast sums are wasted because of poor management, corruption in recipient countries and theft.
Several of the failed projects highlighted are in countries that are now a source of mass migration to the EU, such as Morocco – where aid projects cost the EU £508million, Jordan – where the EU contributes £248million – and Lebanon, where £198million is spent.
The EU is the biggest development aid donor in the world, but has faced criticism over its failure to properly measure the outcomes of the vast expenditure.
In 2012 the then international development minister Alan Duncan said: ‘We share the people’s anger on this. We are forced to give money to the European Union. We ask them to focus aid on poverty but they don’t, and we have no choice in the matter.’
This week’s report is expected to highlight a number of failed projects bankrolled by the EU.
These include a £1.8million EU scheme for a solar panel installation that is not working.