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UK Parliament questions ‘value for money’ of PPPs in highly critical report

Cecilia Gondard

28 Jun 2018 12:51:15

The committee overseeing the UK government’s expenditure has published a searing report on Private Finance Initiatives (the UK version of Public Private Partnerships - PPPs). The Public Accounts Committee raises serious concerns about the “risks to value for money for the taxpayer” and identifies shortcomings in the assessment of their benefits. The report states that “it is unacceptable that after 25 years the Treasury still has no data on benefits to show the PPP model provides value for money”. The UK Treasury, meanwhile, continues to insist that it does.  Apart from concerns about transparency, the report underlines the following shortcomings with the PPP model - many of which Eurodad have repeatedly highlighted: The specific costs associated with PPPs are a concern, including ...

Will new rules on reporting debt relief as development aid be another missed opportunity?

Jeroen Kwakkenbos

27 Jun 2018 15:31:35

On 2 July, the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD DAC) will decide whether to change the rules on how debt relief is reported as Official Development Assistance (ODA). There is a serious risk that these changes could create loopholes allowing donors that use debt-based instruments to inflate their aid levels at the expense of the poorest countries. Due to the switch from a cash flow basis to the Grant Equivalent (GE) system for reporting sovereign lending as ODA, the OECD DAC needs to revise the rules for how debt relief is reported. The reason behind this is that the GE system includes an ex ante adjustment for default risk, based upon country income classification: 4% for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and other Low Income ...

Eurozone finance ministers agree on last-minute debt reprofiling for Greece

Bodo Ellmers

26 Jun 2018 14:22:20

Eurozone finance ministers convened for a crucial Eurogroup session in Brussels on 21 June and agreed on a last-minute set of new debt reprofiling measures for Greece. The package of maturity extensions, interest deferrals and €15bn in new loans from the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) means that the Greek debt stock is likely to rise further in coming years. While Eurogroup members agreed to return profits they make on Greek bond purchases to Greece, this will happen in tranches until 2022 and comes with policy conditionalities attached. Experts doubt that the package can restore debt sustainability to Greece in the long term, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) decided to extract itself. The case proves that an independent debt workout mechanism is urgently needed for the speedy ...

Three uncomfortable truths – and some glimmers of hope – in the latest data on untying Official Development Assistance

Polly Meeks

18 Jun 2018 14:13:44

Last week the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (OECD DAC) released its 2018 report on untying Official Development Assistance (ODA). This may sound dry and technocratic, but tied ODA has life-changing – and sometimes even life-threatening – consequences for people living in poverty in the Global South. Tied ODA can only be used to buy goods and services from the country providing the ODA – putting the commercial objectives of companies in donor countries ahead of the priorities of local people. And when commercial objectives take precedence over development objectives, it’s no surprise that the end result is wasted resources; failure to meet local needs; and /or missed opportunities to support pro-poor local growth ...

Debt justice prevails at the Belgian Constitutional Court: Vulture funds law survives challenge by NML Capital


05 Jun 2018 17:22:04

By Bodo Ellmers, Eurodad, and Antonio Gambini, CNCD-11.11.11 and Chair of the Eurodad board In a landmark ruling on 31 May, the Belgian Constitutional Court upheld the country’s anti-vulture funds law, rejecting a legal challenge by a particularly notorious fund. NML Capital, an opaque vulture fund listed in the offshore financial centre of the Cayman Islands, had tried to shelve the Belgian law and intervene in democratic decision-making in Belgium. The ruling means the law remains in force, and agreements by the European Parliament and the United Nations imply that it is on the way to becoming an example for a worldwide solution to the challenges that vulture funds pose to the fair and speedy resolution of debt crises. Landmark judgement at the Constitutional Court On 31 May, the Belgian ...

Untying should mean untying - no matter where ODA is delivered

Polly Meeks

31 May 2018 13:21:15

By Polly Meeks, Senior Policy and Advocacy Officer and Vitalice Meja, Coordinator of Reality of Aid Africa and Co-Chair of the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE) Think of the major events of summer 2018, and what comes to mind? Perhaps the World Cup; the Jakarta Palembang Asian Games; or (depending on your location and politics) a certain royal wedding. Your mind might not immediately jump to a deadline buried deep in paragraph 21 of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) Recommendation on Untying Aid. Yet for hundreds of millions of people experiencing extreme poverty and inequalities, this deadline could have life-changing implications. It states that in 2018 the DAC will review the countries which the Untying ...

Transparency TOSSD overboard? Two major flaws with the proposed new measure of international resource flows

Jesse Griffiths

29 May 2018 21:24:17

The OECD’s long road to producing a new measure of “officially-supported resource flows to promote sustainable development” – or ‘Total Official Support for Sustainable Development’ (TOSSD) - is beginning to near its end.  An outline of the detailed reporting instructions that providers will use, with ‘excerpts’ already filled in, has been produced by the task force that is developing the concept. Sadly, it has taken this OECD-organised task force until its fourth meeting to arrange a public consultation, which will take place at the end of May. There are many problems with the concept, as the table below details, but there are two glaring faults that the OECD-led process seems unable to fix.  First, TOSSD purports to be a measure of official flows, ...

IMF conditionality: still undermining healthcare & social protection?

Jesse Griffiths, Gino Brunswijck

07 May 2018 11:28:22

The IMF tried last year to counter long-running accusations that its lending and advice programmes damage health outcomes in developing countries, but the independent evidence points in the opposite direction. The question is whether the IMF will use this year’s reviews of its conditionality and of lending facilities for low-income countries (LICs) to switch approach and start helping  Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) three to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.” The IMF claims to protect health expenditure An IMF blog from March last year claimed that: “A number of studies have found that IMF support for countries’ reforms, on average, either preserve or increase public health spending.” However, the evidence provided was weak. Of the six ...

The EU must put poverty reduction before corporate profits when financing development

Maria Romero

27 Apr 2018 09:10:26

The article was originally published at EurActiv.comThe EU’s plan to expand its External Investment Plan to finance development projects is not backed up by evidence, writes María José Romero and Isabelle Brachet. María José Romero is Policy and Advocacy Manager at the European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad). Isabelle Brachet is ActionAid International EU Advocacy Advisor. In recent years, the EU has come to regard investments by the private sector as the silver bullet when it comes to financing development projects. The latest indication of this is the European Commission’s plan to expand the €4 billion European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD) as it prepares the proposal for the next EU budget. The EFSD is a central pillar of the External Investment Plan ...

Public-private partnerships don't work. It's time for the World Bank to take action.

Maria Romero

26 Apr 2018 13:48:31

This article was initially published at DevexThis week, executive directors of the World Bank were handed a letter signed by more than 80 civil society organizations and trade unions from around the world, urging a change in the bank’s approach to public-private partnerships. This action, during the IMF and World Bank Group Spring Meetings, should not have come as a surprise. It is part of a global campaign on PPPs launched last October with the support of more than 150 organizations that are exasperated by the lack of action on this critical issue. The campaign manifesto outlines CSOs’ alarm at the increasing promotion of PPPs to deliver infrastructure projects and public services around the world, and in particular the World Bank’s role in energetically promoting ...