Federal cabinet approves policy to check corruption in social safety nets

Updated November 13, 2019

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Dr Sania Nishtar says purpose of the policy is to build systems that strongly discourage corruption. — Radio Pakistan/File
Dr Sania Nishtar says purpose of the policy is to build systems that strongly discourage corruption. — Radio Pakistan/File

ISLAMABAD: The cabinet on Tuesday approved ‘Ehsaas Governance and Integrity Observatory’ and ‘Ehsaas Governance and Integrity Policy’ aimed at checking corruption and promoting transparency as well as accountability in social safety nets.

Speaking to the newsmen, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar said purpose of the policy was to build systems that strongly discourage corruption and to promote efficiency, transparency and accountability for results and compliance with rules in welfare programmes.

She said that these measures were meant to make welfare organisations effective and responsive to the needs of those who they were meant to serve, and to ensure rule-based control on the use of public resources.

She said policy was meant to address institutionalised corruption and collusion in social welfare organisations. It outlines how board should function, which policies are crucial, and the importance of whistle blowing and conflict of interest.

“It also sets the institutional framework to promote integrity through risk management and assurance, maintenance of risk registers, appointment of accountability officers; error, fraud and corruption frameworks, IT security departments, strengthening of financial management and fiduciary systems, procurement systems, access to information, electronic filing, and development of work plans, and creation of credible data sets. In addition, the policy is aimed at eliminating discretionary powers,” she said.

She said: “The policy is binding on the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) and its ancillary organisations including the Benazir Income Support Programme, Baitul Mal, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, and Trust for Voluntary Organizations and the observatory is meant to ensure tracking of compliance, and, since the key issue with policies is their implementation, that is why, the observatory and the policy have been launched together.”

She said that it also outlined that by the end of four years, PASSD will strive to use block chain technology to ensure data transparency.

She said that the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division would continue to refine this policy based on lessons learned. To support the implementation of this policy, PASSD has appointed a governance focal person and will establish a “governance and integrity observatory” to facilitate implementation of this policy. The policy will be posted on the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division’s website shortly.

Published in Dawn, November 13th, 2019