Letter: Too much secrecy over World Bank and IMF

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Sir: Richard Dowden lucidly conveys some key issues in the aid debate, but he is wrong to suggest that 'the only criticism of the Government from the aid agencies now is about the size of the aid budget'.

Reflecting our commitment to improving the quality as well as the amount of aid, the World Development Movement (WDM) has campaigned vigorously to reverse the Government's pounds 234m contribution from the aid budget to the Pergau Dam in Malaysia, the most prosperous country in South-east Asia.

WDM has been granted leave to apply for a judicial review of the decision to fund the Pergau Dam. (The application will be heard in the High Court on 9 November.) We believe that this biggest- ever allocation of aid money represents not only a shockingly unwise investment in an uneconomical, low-priority project, but also contravenes the 1980 Overseas Development and Co-operation Act. We hope a just resolution to the Pergau case will help ensure that, in future, aid is indeed spent on the people who most need it.

Yours faithfully,


World Development


London, SW9

5 October