FATF satisfied over Pakistan’s progress towards action plan

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PARIS: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Monday expressed satisfaction over steps taken by Pakistan in line with its action plan.
The Pakistani delegation headed by Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar attended a crucial session of the Financial Action Task Force in Paris.
In the session, China, Turkey and Malaysia appreciated Pakistan’s steps taken out in accordance with the FATF’s action plan.
The FATF meeting discussed steps taken by Pakistan to curb terrorism-financing and money laundering till April 2019.
The forum will release its final report on October 18.
Pakistan had earlier dispatched the fresh national risk assessment study to FATF, comprised of 150 pages, which was prepared with the collaboration of the United Nations.
The study report made the risk assessment in context of three key aspects including determining the risks of terror financing.
Earlier, the FATF has examined the compliance report of Pakistan in its meeting.
FATF has expressed satisfaction over new risk assessment study of Pakistan and brotherly countries including China, Turkey and Malaysia have supported stance of Pakistan.
FATF appreciated efforts of Pakistan against terrorism and corruption. Pakistani delegation gave satisfactory answers to all questions of FATF. Pakistan also satisfied Indian members on questions about terrorism outfits working in Pakistan.
Pakistani delegation presented a report in the meeting where question answer session would continue further.
According to a mutual evaluation report issued on Oct 2 by the Asia-Pacific Group (APG) – a regional affiliate of the FATF – Pakistan, out of the 40 recommendations, has shown compliance in one, Financial Institutions Secrecy Law, and has shown noncompliance in four areas, outlined brokerage firm Topline Securities in its report.
“However, Pakistan is partially compliant on 26 and largely compliant on nine recommendations,” it added. It further highlighted that Pakistan has shown appropriate progress since Oct 2018.
Pakistan, among many other measures, has effectively complied with one of another strong conditions put forward by the Asia Pacific Group (APG) – a regional affiliate of the FATF – to implement measures for curbing black money in the real estate sector.
Pakistan has undertaken a plan to establish a ‘Real Estate Regulatory Authority’ to restrict black money in the sector.
The Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) prepared an initial draft the establishment of the authority in accordance with the standards of the FATF.
The country will ensure that lands and properties are not transferred in the name of any terrorist organizations or banned outfit. However, matters pertaining to taxation on the real estate sector are excluded from the scope of the authority.
Moreover, federal institutions will support the formation of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority – that will make it mandatory for businessmen who are involved in the real estate businesses to register themselves with the authority and essential documentation of the
businesses will follow.
Importantly, a report finalised by the SECP mentioned that the comprehensive guideline developed by the Commission has helped financial institutions to generate 219 Suspicious Transactions Reports (STRs) in just one year, as compared to 13 STRs in eight years.
In order to comply with the FATF’s standards, it has developed a set of regulations -SECP AML/CFT Regulations – in June 2018.
Furthermore, it has conducted 167 inspections, focusing on AML/CFT compliance in the cases of 72 securities brokers, 27 non-banking financial companies, 13 insurance companies and 55 high risk non-profit organisations.
This year, Pakistan has made significant improvements in its systems to fight money laundering (ML) and terror financing (TF) as per international standards. – NNI