Islamabad: The US embassy in Islamabad has refuted media reports that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has put its USD 250 million project in Pakistan on hold in the wake of the issue of devolution of the Higher Education Commission (HEC).
Accord to a media report attributed to sources, the USAID was supposed to provide the first instalment for the project `Financial Assistant and Development Programme`, which has been put on hold, and the rest of the funding has also been frozen till the situation is not cleared about the role of the HEC in future.
“These reports are inaccurate. USAID has not put any funding for the HEC on hold, nor does it have any plans to do so at this time,” the US embassy said in a statement.
“The United States through USAID already has provided all of its planned funding to the HEC for 2010, which amounted to USD 45 million. Funding for any future USAID programs will be determined later this year, when the US Congress approves funding for 2011,” it added.
The statement notified that the USAID had been working closely with the HEC to strengthen the capacity of Pakistani universities, and that this collaboration aimed to assist Pakistan in developing a cadre of world-class experts who can play an active role in Pakistan’s economic and social development.
“In addition, USAID provides merit-and-need-based scholarships through the HEC for in-country higher education,” it added.
The statement said that separately, the USAID provides USD 20 million every year to support the world`s largest Fulbright scholarship program, which is implemented by the US Department of State in partnership with the HEC.
“The Science and Technology partnership with Pakistan also is implemented through the HEC,” it added.