Wednesday, 16 December 2009 12:55 PM

Boomerang Aid Misconception

Dear Editor,

Stalin W's letter (Guilt trip to Cuba) floors me with its insight and depth, and almost leaves me speachless. Almost.

This misconception of Australia only giving 'boomerang aid' should be put to rest once and for all. (Also, assuming from Stalin's comment, he is implying that Iran is somehow being a really good friend, and giving Solo this money out of the goodness of its heart. Wrong. Iran is definitely wanting - and has already got - something back in return for supplying this 'aid').

I will use just one example to refute this rediculous notion of 'boomerang aid' - my example is AusAid's funding of health service delivery.

During 1999 to 2007, Australia provided some AUD$90 million (SBD$560 million) in support for the health sector. It financed drugs and medical supplies, grants to provinces to meet operational expenditure, operational costs of the NRH (Number 9), and (during the tensions) direct payment of salaries. It was largely successful in stabilising health spending during the tensions, when government revenue halved. 70% of all public health aid funding comes from Australia.

AusAid money for the health sector has also been spent on emergency medical supplies, malaria control programmes, medical recruitment, reproductive health and family planning training, expanded immunisation programme and general health sector support. To see more detail just google 'ausaid solomon islands' - there are lots of reports there saying just how and where aid money was spent.

Three quarters of the population use public health facilities and some 85 per cent of mothers give birth in a facility. This is aid that is of benefit to all Solomon Islanders.

Last of all, in Australia, boomerangs do not traditionally come back, they are a tool designed to be thrown and hit a target. Maybe it is boomerang aid after all - it is aid that is hitting its target as it is supposed to.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter/article are those of Harry Kwow and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.

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