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Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 6 October 2008, Official Report, columns 119-20W, on Pakistan: overseas aid, what progress the Pakistani financial inclusion programme has made on the raising of £50 million from the private financial sector to improve access to finance including in rural areas. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The financial inclusion programme is a five year programme which has only just commenced. Resources from the private financial sector to improve access to credit have not yet started to flow. We expect that by June 2009 around £10 million will have been mobilised from the private sector, and the full £50 million will be available by the end of 2011.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will offer Pakistan advice and assistance to enable it to widen its tax base and minimise the scope for evasion; and if he will make development assistance from the UK conditional on Pakistani government action to increase the proportion of those liable for taxes who pay them. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Department for International Development highlights the importance of Pakistan raising its current low level of tax revenue in our discussions about our development partnership arrangement, focusing on the need to increase taxes to finance public services for the poor.
DFID has committed £12.4 million to a tax administration reform programme. This is strengthening the capacity of the Federal Board of Revenue to enforce and collect taxes. In addition, we have provided £400,000 for a study which is assessing Pakistan's tax policies and will make specific recommendations about improving existing taxes and introducing new ones.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many civil servants in his Department were seconded to work for (a) trades unions and (b) the Trades Union Congress in each year since 2003. 
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the £0.5 million allocated to the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs to improve accountability between the humanitarian co-ordinators based in a country receiving aid and emergency relief co-ordinators will be spent on. 
Mr. Michael Foster: The Department for International Development (DFID) has allocated £0.5 million over three years (2006-08) to the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to help strengthen the humanitarian co-ordination system at field level.
This contribution will assist in the establishment of a dedicated secretariat within OCHA focusing on the selection, induction, training of and support to humanitarian co-ordinators and field based humanitarian co-ordination structures.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has had with the governments of states bordering Zimbabwe on the effect of food shortages in that country on the number of refugees entering their countries. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Zimbabwes social and economic decline has forced many Zimbabweans to leave the country. The vast majority of these migrants leave by irregular means, making it difficult to estimate numbers accurately. During the recent campaign of violence following the March elections, a significant increase in requests for asylum and refugee status in neighbouring countries, especially Botswana, was noted. The exodus of Zimbabweans as a result of oppression and humanitarian pressures is a regular topic of conversation in our dealings with neighbouring states.
The Department for International Developments (DFID) office in Zimbabwe maintains regular contact with DFID offices in neighbouring states to monitor preparedness and policies in those countries related to irregular migration and refugees. Support to Zimbabwean migrants and refugees is currently being provided by DFID in Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa.
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has had with the World Food Programme and other international agencies delivering humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe on ensuring that currency paid into the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is (a) not siphoned off in any currency transactions and (b) used for the purpose for which it was donated. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department for International Development (DFID) works closely with international agencies to ensure they achieve the best value for money when delivering humanitarian programmes in Zimbabwe and minimise the risks of pilfering and interference. The World Food Programme (WFP), its partner organisations and other international agencies operate bank accounts outside Zimbabwe and liquidate negligible amounts through local commercial banks. Most procurement of commodities and services is done externally through offshore accounts.
The United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) maintains a robust system of monitoring for humanitarian funds and the implementation of agreed programmes. The UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator (HC) holds weekly monitoring meetings in order to track the delivery of assistance and use of humanitarian funds.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what checks he has in place on UK aid monies paid into the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to protect against siphoning off in currency transactions. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: No UK Government funds are transferred to the Government of Zimbabwe and no payments are made through the Reserve Bank. The Department for International Development (DFID) holds all aid funds in offshore accounts and we encourage our partners to do the same to prevent pilfering by the Reserve Bank. We aim to deliver DFID programmes using as little Zimbabwe currency as possible. Increasingly, as the economy declines, the use of foreign currency in Zimbabwe has become easier. Most of our procurement is done in foreign currency in accordance with EC rules and outside Zimbabwe. Goods are imported with tax and customs exemptions.
Where funds have to be expended in local currency, money is transferred to local commercial banks for exchange at the best available rate and in small amounts at a time in order to preserve value. DFID holds regular discussions with NGOs and other implementing partners to ensure that they are able to operate without interference.
Chris Bryant: There are currently 847 pensioners in receipt of a pension from the Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund. Data on the likely number of pensioners during the remainder of 2008 are not available.