Feb 19 -
World Bank team coming to investigate SAP scam
The World Bank's Corruption and Fraud Investigation Unit (CFIU) is
arriving in Pakistan to investigate alleged $400 million (Rs20
billion) embezzlement in the Social Action Programme (SAP-II) , an
authoritative source told.
The CFIU and officials from Bank's Institutional
Integrity Department will conduct investigations in collaboration with
the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Auditor General of
It will also review official documents and verify
assets in all the four provinces and the federal capital territory
The source said the government has agreed to
cooperate with the CFIU after a lot of reluctance and only after World
Bank named it as "Field & Integrity Assurance Mission."
The source said that the CFIU team comprised of two
British and two Pakistan nationals besides a Canadian.
The CFIU will examine Auditor General's
observations (audit reports) which had pin-pointed the fraud and
corruption in the Social Action Plan.
Earlier, sources said, acting Country Director
Pakistan and Afghanistan South Asia Region, Abid Hasan, through a
letter had informed the Finance Ministry that the mission would be
headed by Mr Terence Matthews (British national), head of
investigation/ operations and include Mohammad Ashraf, procurement
adviser (a Pakistani national), Peter Dent, senior forensic accountant
(Canadian) and Duncan Smith, lawyer/ investigator (British) for
conducting the entire operation.
Mr Arif Yaqub, World Bank's senior financial
management specialist at Islamabad office, will also be a member of
the team and coordinate the programme.
The Unit was set up in 1997 on the initiative of Mr
James Wolfenson, President of the Bank, to "abate fraud and
corruption" under the bank-supported operations.
Shortfall needs to be rectified, says ADB
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has said a
shortfall of Rs11 billion in revenue collection and $500 million in
export proceeds in Pakistan in the first six months of the fiscal year
needs to be "rectified".
"While the reform measures reflect the
government's commitment to maintain macroeconomic stability,
accelerate economic growth and reduce the incidence of relative
poverty, it is necessary for the government to stay on the course and
as an example recent shortfalls in revenue collection and export
proceeds would need to be rectified," the ADB said in a recent
report on "Latest Political and Economic Development and ADB
Operation in Pakistan".
It said that due to shortfalls in revenue and
export targets, Pakistan's current account balance is "under
Businessmen to get benefit of reforms: CE
The Chief Executive, General Pervez Musharraf on
Thursday assured a group of Pakistani industrialists and businessmen
that the government will put in place a sound mechanism that will
ensure continuity of all the economic reforms targeted to boost
investment and increase exports.
These reforms have been introduced in the national
interest which will always rein supreme, he said and asked the
businessmen to have no apprehension on that account.
Referring to the clean and healthy environment
created by the government, General Pervez Musharraf invited Pakistani
businessmen to come forward and take full advantage of the business
friendly policies of the government.
The strategic objective of the government and the
businessmen is the same, he observed and said that the two should work
in harmony to bring progress and prosperity to the country.
'Reshaped NFC soon'
The federal government has decided to restructure
the National Finance Commission and revise its award. Discussions in
this respect would soon be initiated, stated Sindh Finance Minister Dr
Abdul Hafeez Shaikh.
In an interview with PPI on Thursday, the minister
said, each province would be represented by its finance minister with
another member to be nominated by the respective provincial
Sindh government has already suggested the name of
Dr Abdullah J.Memon to represent the province in the commission, he
EAB to focus on economic revival
The two-day seventh meeting of the Economic
Advisory Board (EAB) began on Thursday under the chairmanship of the
In his opening remarks, the finance minister said
the primary focus of board's deliberations would be on the measures to
be adopted for accelerating the process of economic revival during the
The minister, while appreciating the work done by
the EAB towards the finalization of government's economic revival
programme, underlined the need for evolving a forward-looking strategy
while taking full cognizance of the achievements made during the last
Leasing business to get a boost
The government has agreed to extend the first
year/re-investment allowance to leasing companies in lieu of
depreciation allowance of 40 per cent, which lapsed on June 30, 2000.
Sources said the proposal would be presented to the
Cabinet very soon for approval to provide a boost to investment in
machinery and equipment, through the lease finance.
Other measures are also being stipulated to
strengthen leasing sector as officials feel that industry has a
future. Last week, the governor of State Bank Dr Ishrat Husain and
SECP Chairman Khalid Mirza held a meeting at the SBP to discuss
measures to promote leasing and modaraba sector.
Romanian machinery offered
A Romania-based Universal Tractors manufacturing
group has offered its agricultural machinery to Pakistan on
experimental basis for their demonstration in the different parts of
the country to assess feasibility for local use.
This offer was made by a three-member delegation of
Romania, headed by president of Universal Tractors Marinara Coastea,
which visited Agricultural Development Bank of Pakistan and met its
chairman Feroz Bashir Ansari on Friday.