The United Kingdom is said to be planning major cuts in aid facilities to Nigeria and other seven countries.
According to a report published on Friday by an international media organisation, Open Democracy, the UK has plans to slash hundreds of millions of pounds in foreign aid to countries in conflict zones around the world.
The news medium said the decision was seen in leaked emails from the accounts of government officials after been reportedly “discussed by senior officials at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) in February”.
It notes that Nigeria is set to see a 58 percent cut in aid from the UK; Libya could be affected by 63 percent between 2021 and 2022; aid to Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo could drop by around 60 percent.
It added that the aid to Sudan will decrease from £110 million to £45 million, while the Western Balkans will see a possible decline by 50 percent.
“British spending in the Sahel region of Africa could also drop by more than 90%, from £340m to £23m. Aid to Lebanon could fall by 88%, although some of this shortfall will be covered by a rise in assistance from other government budgets,” the report reads.
Sarah Champion MP, chair of the House of Commons International Development Committee, said that the scale of the budget cuts being considered by the government-led her to “fear for the future of UK aid”.
“Reports of aid cuts to countries such as the DRC, South Sudan and Syria – among many others on the brink of humanitarian crises – are deeply concerning,” she said.
“More of the most vulnerable people in the world will go hungry; healthcare systems already under strain from a global pandemic will struggle to operate; violence and conflict will no doubt escalate.
”The government must explain the rationale for any cuts and be held accountable for the decisions it will take.”
Layla Moran MP, Lib Dem Foreign Affairs and International Development Spokesperson said: “For many vulnerable people around the world, the UK’s development spending has made the difference between life and death, and it stands as a testament to the best of British values. These shocking revelations are just a preview of what’s to come and tell us everything we need to know about the Government’s priorities.
“The Conservative Government’s short-sighted budget slashing not only breaks their promise to the British people and the world’s poorest, but makes a mockery of their global ambitions and our reputation on the world stage. How can we claim to be leaders when we’re cutting humanitarian aid so drastically to countries in conflict zones, undermining peace efforts and leaving people hungry?”
A British government spokesperson said: “The seismic impact of the pandemic on the UK economy has forced us to take tough but necessary decisions, including temporarily reducing the overall amount we spend on aid.”
The reported aid cut to Nigeria comes nine months after the UK pledged £20 million to the African Union to help in the fight against COVID-19.