Sida officials reject aid minister’s criticism

Sida officials reject aid minister's criticism
Five top officials at the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) have issued a statement criticizing development aid minister Gunilla Carlsson, report several Swedish media.

The officials are concerned about the image portrayed by the Carlsson in the media in regards to Swedish development aid and Sida’s various programmes and activities.

“It is not based upon the actual results achieved through development aid. It doesn’t highlight the complex reality that development aid is intended to address,” the officials said, according to the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

On several occasions, Carlsson has expressed criticism over how Sida has managed Swedish development cooperation. She has also stated that the agency must become more transparent about its results, reports SvD.

In August, Carlsson called for an open debate over the role of development aid in the aftermath of a corruption scandal in Zambia.

“Could it be that the development aid is not a part of a possible solution, but in fact part of the problem?” Carlsson asked at the time.

Earlier this month, TT news agency reported that Sida will be audited after exceeding its 2009 budget. The agency’s overspending was not in the area of development assistance, but rather increased costs of property and personnel in the field, partly due to the stronger US dollar against the Swedish krona.

In September, Sida discovered that it was at risk of exceeding its 2009 administrative budget of 900 million kronor ($129 million) by 10 percent.

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