Drammen: Need for accounting of money going to immigrants

Norwegian Pakistani Yousuf Gilani says that just like there's an overview of how much money is used for schools, roads and elderly, there should also be an accounting of how much money is used for minorities.

According to Norway Statistics, on January 1st 2007 there were 10,754 immigrants in Drammen, 9,337 of which came from non-Western countries. That's 16% of the city's population.

The labor party politician threw a new bombshell into the already heated subject. In the past Gilani provoked party colleagues by saying that the labor party had failed the immigrants.

Gilani warns he will put the question to the mayor within the week. By doing so he breaks from an important custom in local politics, clearing things first with the city council before going forward with a new proposition. Gilani says that he isn't certain the labor party will allow him to go further and that's why he's going directly tot he mayor.

Gilani says that the state's integration funds are one of the city's most important sources of income. But the money is not earmarked and is used to cover the deficit in social services.

He wants better control over what the money is being used for. Many of the measures have a fine name and good intentions. There's projects against forced marriage, female circumcision and integration. But 80% of them have little or no effect, says Gilani, who now wants the labor party to earmark the money.

The Drammen politician doesn't hide where he got his inspiration. He looks at Os municipality, led by Frp (Progress Party), as an example of what can be done through accounting. There the conclusion was that the municipality benefited from the immigrant population. And other municipalities in Denmark and Sweden have positive number to show after going through an immigrant accounting.

Gilani says that it's positive for the immigrants to understand how these funds are used and so understand what works and what doesn't.

Yousuf Gilani is the first Norwegian Pakistani boy born in Norway to two Pakistani citizens. He was elected to the Drammen city council for his third term for the labor party in 2007. He became known around the country when he was accused of election fraud. An investigation was started, but dropped due to lack of evidence.

Source: Dagbladet (English)

See also: Norway: Pakistanis support closing borders , Norway: Muslims want national holiday

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