A Pakistani delegation left for Paris on Sunday to attend the crucial session of Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which is set to be held in the French capital on October 14 and 15.
The delegation is headed by Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar and includes Additional Secretary Finance Sohail Rajput, along with the representatives of National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).
The meeting is of paramount importance as it will discuss measures taken by Pakistan to curb terrorism-financing and money laundering till April 2019.
Pakistan 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 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.
If satisfied, the FATF may consider exiting Pakistan from its grey list.