To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the comments made by Willy Vangu, an opposition leader in the Democratic Republic of Congo, on his recent visit to London that "we are asking the British Government and International Monetary Fund to stop spending public money on aid packages and loans to the Congo...We say the money would be better spent preventing deals that strip ordinary citizens of their rightful assets", as reported in the Sunday Times on 29 April.
We strongly believe that the UK should not suspend its aid programme in the DRC. Doing so would only serve to harm those that most need assistance. UK taxpayers' money is achieving tangible results for the poorest in DRC. In 2011-12 alone 2.5 million Congolese received life-saving humanitarian assistance, 927,593 bed-nets were distributed and 748 kilometres of roads were upgraded. With corruption endemic in DRC, to protect our investments and ensure UK development assistance reaches the poor and vulnerable, none of our funding passes directly through government systems.
We agree that the Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) mining industries must be run transparently for the benefit of all its people. That is why the DfID co-funds with the World Bank a minerals sector reform programme (ProMines). The programme aims to improve the governance of the mining sector in the DRC, increasing its contribution to growth, sustainable development and poverty reduction. The programme will improve: laws and information on how to access mineral resources to encourage investment; government capacity to manage the sector including how to conduct mining transactions in an open and competitive manner; and, government capacity and accountability in mining tax collection. We are also supporting the DRC to achieve compliance status under the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. This involves independent audit of taxes paid and revenues received, thus enabling public scrutiny of any discrepancies.
The UK Government are fully committed to and comply with international anti-money laundering standards and exert pressure to help ensure that the Overseas Territories comply with these, and that they play an active part in global bodies such as Financial Action Task Force. Responsibility for the regulation of financial services has been devolved to the Government of the British Virgin Islands. Therefore, the local authorities in British Virgin Islands are responsible for the regulation, supervision and inspection of financial services business carried out in or from within the territory.