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PM directs new anti-money laundering legislation within week

PM directs new anti-money laundering legislation within week

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed that a new legislation should be finalised within a week’s time to effectively deal with the offences related to money laundering and to further strengthen the existing laws to effectively check illegal/corrupt practices that were negatively impacting the economy of the country.

The prime minister has also approved a package to further incentivise remittance through legal channels.

The decisions were taken during a high-level meeting at Prime Minister’s Office with PM Imran Khan in the chair. The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Asad Umar, Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan, PM’s Special Assistants Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari, and Iftikhar Durrani, federal secretaries, Federal Investigation Agency DG, NADRA chairman and State Bank of Pakistan deputy governor.

It was decided during the meeting that SBP, being the regulatory authority in the banking sector, would take action against elements who were involved in facilitating the opening and operation of fake bank accounts in the country.

The prime minister also tasked the finance secretary to submit recommendations for regulating the trade under Pak-Afghan Transit Trade Agreement with an aim to effectively check misuse of the agreement.

It was also decided during the meeting that necessary amendments would be introduced in the existing laws including Anti-Money Laundering Act 2010, to further strengthen these laws for effectively dealing with the cases of money laundering and other illegal practices.

The interior secretary informed the meeting that task forces, at national as well as provincial levels, have been constituted with an aim to identify legislative and administrative constraints in effective implementation of AML activities and to suggest corrective measures towards its eradication.

The provincial task forces were mandated to take timely action against individuals/institutions identified as involved in activities falling within the domains of Hawala/Hundi.

The National Task Force will submit a monthly report to the PM Office on performance including coordinated actions undertaken and recoveries effected.

The interior secretary also identified various other actions, including making Islamabad International Airport as a model airport with regards to inter-agency coordination and installation of truck scanners at Torkham, with an aim to check money laundering, smuggling and other illegal practices.

The prime minister also approved a package for enhancement of incentives for remittances through legal channels. It was decided to increase airtime to Rs2 against each USD received through M Wallet.

It was also decided that banks/exchange companies would be reimbursed Rs1 per USD as marketing expenses and promotional activities on remittances exceeding 15pc in FY19 compared to FY18.

The PM also approved a proposal to launch an awareness campaign by SBP for remittance customers.