Pakistan’s progress against money laundering acknowledged: Baqir

Updated December 15, 2019

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SBP governor Reza Baqir was addressing the second edition of Financial Crime Summit in Karachi. —  Photo courtesy The British University In Egypt (bue.edu.eg)/File
SBP governor Reza Baqir was addressing the second edition of Financial Crime Summit in Karachi. — Photo courtesy The British University In Egypt (bue.edu.eg)/File

KARACHI: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have praised Pakistan for making key progress against money laundering which is crucial for the country as it seeks to come out of the grey list, said the State Bank Governor Reza Baqir.

Addressing the second edition of Financial Crime Summit in Karachi, Baqir expressed satisfaction over the progress being made by the government and all other institutions to eliminate the terror financing.

In its assessment, the FATF has pointed out that Pakistan has made sufficient progress between May to September, he said.

The governor said that FATF grey listing has been one of the most important concerns for the country and it’s a matter of satisfaction that the watchdog is happy what Pakistan has been doing to curb terror financing, continuing that the IMF is also pleased with progress on that front.

Terror financing will be afforded zero tolerance, he said, adding that the SBP has made amendments in prudential regulations and seized many accounts to get complete control over trade-related terror financing.

According to Baqir, trade-related terror financing is now impossible from Pakistan which is why both FATF and IMF endorsed the country’s strategy.

More work is in progress to bring Pakistan out of the FATF grey list and all banks have been advised to further improve their progress towards the anti-money laundering and that they are closely monitoring against trade-related terror financing.

The country was badly affected by acts of terrorism which hit the economy, adding that countering financial assistance to banned outfits would benefit the country.

The government is taking all necessary steps to provide good environment for business while international financial institutions have appraised Pakistan for actions aimed at improving that situation.

Reforms have continued in the financial system and the decision about exchange rate was justified as stability on that front is clearly visible now, he continued.

The governor claimed people have converted their foreign currency accounts into saving ones, which benefited the economy.

Baqir said the economy is showing signs of recovery as restrictions on imports are being removed gradually, adding that the decision to allow 50 per cent advance payments has addressed worries of importers and will benefit the economy.

The SBP on Dec 12 allowed banks to make advance payments up to 50 per cent of the value of imports against a letter of credit for manufacturing concerns.

The decision was taken in the wake of stable exchange rate, improved foreign exchange reserves and better balance of payments situation.

The State Bank said that using this facility, manufacturing concerns will be able to import plant, machinery, spare parts and raw material etc by paying in advance.

Published in Dawn, December 15th, 2019