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Accountability to promote conducive business environment: Shehzad Akbar

ISLAMABAD: The business community was the central plank for the economic development of Pakistan and the ongoing accountability process would promote conducive business environment as it would promote transparency, reduce corruption and improve ease of doing business in the country. This was observed by Mirza Shahzad Akbar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability while addressing the business community at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

He said the purpose of accountability was not hunting and imprisoning people, but was aimed at promoting good governance and transparency in the country. He said state failure in governance in last 70 years and moral degradation in society promoted corruption in Pakistan and the current government was focused on promoting rule of law and due process for accountability in order to promote clean governance. He said state was responsible for regulation while the service delivery was the job of private sector and the government was working to strengthen institutions to facilitate the private sector. He said NAB was fully independent, but it needed more capacity building.

Shahzad Akbar said that government was taking measures to strengthen anti-corruption establishments at provincial level so that they could handle procedural corruption cases while NAB could focus on high end corruption cases. He said an Asset Recovery Unit was established in PM Office to recover assets from foreign countries, but added that dealing with money laundering cases was a lengthy process. He said cost of doing business in Pakistan was quite high due to which our exports had become uncompetitive in international markets, but added that the government was striving hard to make production cost competitive and facilitate growth of businesses.  He said business community should give its proposals for ease of doing business and government would give them due consideration.

Speaking at the occasion, Ahmed Hassan Moughal, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that the corruption was a major hurdle in the economic development of the country and government should further strengthen NAB and other anti-corruption bodies to ensure across the board accountability. He said in pursuit of meeting government’s revenue targets, FBR’s measures were putting more burden on existing taxpayers and urged that government should focus on broadening the tax base to improve tax revenue. He stressed that the government should develop strong check and balance systems to curb corruption and focus on creating enabling environment for business activities in the country.

Rafat Farid Senior Vice President and Iftikhar Anwar Sethi Vice President said that government should put in place strong financial monitoring systems and develop transparent procedures that would boost the confidence of local and foreign investors. Khalid Javed, Tariq Sadiq, Khalid Iqbal Malik, Mian Akram Farid, Mian Shaukat Masud, Zafar Bakhtawari and others also highlighted various issues.

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