Auditors reviewed 23 reconstruction projects and found that while some in health and agriculture did well, construction projects continue to suffer from cost overruns and delays. Also, in three cases, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Haiti mission was forced to scratch projects because of poor performance or insufficient Haitian government support, auditors said.
The release of the report by the GAO, which works for Congress, came a day ahead of a visit to Haiti by U.S. congressional staffers from the House Foreign Affairs committee. Led by Eddy Acevedo, senior policy advisor to U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the delegation plans to visit some of the projects, including empty housing plots, where work stalled because the agencies that were supposed to build the homes on behalf of USAID pulled out.
The findings echo past GAO reports examining how USAID has spent $1.7 billion of U.S. taxpayer dollars in Haiti’s reconstruction efforts. As of Sept. 30, 2014, the agency had allocated more than half to health and food security programs.
“Challenges such as overly ambitious plans, inadequate mission staffing, and slow or revised decisions from the Haitian government have led to delays and lower than expected results for most activities,” International Affairs and Trade Director David Gootnick wrote. via | Miami Herald