Sat | Jan 23, 2021

NIA to ‘scan horizons’ for more funding after US cuts aid

Published:Friday | February 14, 2020 | 12:00 AM

Head of National Integrity Action (NIA) Professor Trevor Munroe has defended the contribution made by the anti-corruption watchdog in Jamaica, pointing out that a United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-commissioned performance evaluation of the agency in November 2019 showed that it has done “creditably, based on the assessment of the Jamaican people”.

Munroe’s comments came against the background of remarks made by US Ambassador Donald Tapia while addressing members of the Rotary Club of Kingston on January 30, where he signalled, without naming NIA, that Washington had not received a return on its investment in the anti-corruption body.

Further, Tapia has reportedly said that his government would not renew its funding arrangement with NIA when its current agreement ends next month.

However, Munroe expressed appreciation to the American people through their funding agencies for the little more than US$13-million support given to NIA since 2012, which allowed it to help the country to strengthen its anti-corruption and integrity-building processes.

With the US funding of the anti-corruption watchdog set to end in March, Munroe said that NIA would be “scanning the horizons” for requests for proposals from the European Union, the Canadian International Development Agency, the USAID, and international private foundations.

“As we speak, NIA now has an award from the EU, which runs until the end of 2020,” he said, adding that the agency would also be looking out for funding opportunities from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development later this year.

He acknowledged that if funding to NIA fell sharply, it would have some impact on the level of work done by the agency.

The USAID-commissioned evaluation commended NIA for providing value for money and for forging partnerships with ministries, departments, and agencies as well as civil society bodies and the private sector. The performance evaluation also praised Munroe and the leadership of NIA for the work they had accomplished over the period they had been engaged.

“NIA also maintained a strong ongoing engagement with the ‘political directorate’ that not only monitored the anti-corruption environment, but also advocated for strengthening the legislative and institutional framework for anti-corruption in Jamaica. The evaluation found that NIA had succeeded in raising awareness about corruption and starting to foster a national dialogue around corruption and integrity.”