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Departmental Public Expenditure

Volume 485: debated on Thursday 18 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development with reference to the answer of 6 October 2008, Official Report, columns 105-08W, on departmental public expenditure, what the reasons were for overspends against the country budgets for (a) Sudan, (b) Rwanda, (c) Ghana, (d) Sierra Leone, (e) Bangladesh, (f) Nepal and (g) the Palestinian Authority in 2007-08. (242709)

Overspends against country budgets do not reflect unplanned excess spending, but reflect approved re-prioritisations of resources in response to events occurring during that financial year.

Specific reasons for the variances in the countries identified are:

(a) Sudan: we increased our contribution to the Common Humanitarian Fund by £5 million and invested an extra £7 million in the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) schools programmes and the World Food Programme (WFP) rural roads programme.

(b) Rwanda: we provided extra funds to a Health Sector Support project.

(c) Ghana: we brought forward our General Budget Support contribution from 2008-09 to 2007-08 in order to meet the Government of Ghana's request for all budget support to be paid in the first quarter of their financial year (January to December).

(d) Sierra Leone: we brought forward our support contribution for the 2008 local government elections, which covered procurement and delivery of key elections materials, so as to enable Sierra Leone to meet its Constitution deadline of 5 July 2008. We also brought forward our funding of the completion of the Bumbuna hydro-electric dam to enable the completion of necessary works to allow the dam to be filled during the annual rains which began in May 2008.

(e) Bangladesh: we spent additional amounts on flood and cyclone relief following Cyclone Sidr which struck Bangladesh in November 2007.

(f) Nepal: additional resources were allocated to Nepal at a critical moment in its peace process, to help fund areas of the peace agreements, including support to elections, and to accelerate delivery of development.

(g) Palestinian Authority: in response to a personal request from the Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad, DFID agreed to frontload part of its three-year pledge made at the Paris donor conference by moving money from calendar financial year 2010 to 2008 in order to meet critical funding gaps in the recurrent Palestinian Authority budget and to signal strong political commitment to the Annapolis peace process.