Govt Fails to Set Up ‘IMF-Inspired’ Electronic Asset Declaration System

The federal government has failed to establish a comprehensive electronic asset declaration unit.

Sources told ProPakistani that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had asked Pakistan to issue regulations to establish a comprehensive electronic asset declaration system by September 30, 2022, but no progress has been made on this so far.

According to the IMF document, Fostering governance and the control of corruption by strengthening the effectiveness of anti-corruption institutions. Priority measures include the establishment of an asset declaration system with a focus on high-level public officials (including federal cabinet members) and the publication of a comprehensive review of the anticorruption institutional framework (National Accountability Bureau) by a task force with the participation of independent experts with international experience and civil society organizations by end-January 2023.

The Pakistani team has agreed with IMF that they will issue regulations to establish an electronic asset declaration system by end-September 2022 that is comprehensive (covering assets beneficially owned or located abroad), centrally held with the Federal Board of Revenue, covering federal civil servants of Basic Pay Scale (BPS) 17 to 22, accessible to entities authorized by law (including banks for the limited purposes of conducting customer due diligence as required for the provision of banking services), and effectively verified.

It will also institutionalize public access to annual declarations for all members (elected and unelected) of the federal government cabinet of Pakistan.

The Finance (Supplementary) Act of 2022 authorizes the FBR to provide access to asset declarations of politically exposed persons and public servants in BPS-17 and above (including their spouses, children, benamidars, or when they are the beneficial owner).

Together with the Establishment Division, SBP, and Financial Monitoring Unit, FBR will issue regulations to facilitate access to law enforcement and banks.

The 2nd review cycle is being undertaken under the UNCAC implementation mechanism and a full report will be published, including the findings, analysis, and recommendations for improving the anti-corruption framework.

A task force, to be established by the Ministry of Law and Justice and undertaken in consultation with the Ministry of Finance, with participation and inputs from reputable independent experts with international experience and civil society organizations, will complete and publish a comprehensive review of the institutional framework of our anticorruption institutions (including the National Accountability Bureau) to enhance their independence and effectiveness in investigating and prosecuting corruption cases, with proposals for legislative amendments as appropriate by end January 2023.

The task force will also recommend appropriate structural reform measures that strengthen the independence of anti-corruption institutions, prevent political influence and persecution, and provide for transparency and accountability controls against abuse.

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