Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Sania Nishtar on Tuesday observed that almost after a year of the launch of Ehsaas programme, an extensive effort was made to build the infrastructure of integrity and transparency.
“According to statutory requirements, the board meetings, conflict of interest policy, whistleblowing policy, and error, fraud and corruption frameworks and risk registers were institutionalized,” she said.
The SAPM made these remarks while addressing the webinar titled “The IMF's Engagement on Social Protection” held at the World Bank-International Monetary Fund annual spring meetings 2021.
Presenting Pakistan’s perspective on bolstering social safety nets, Dr Sania highlighted the country’s social protection policy initiatives, aspiration and challenges and how the government demonstrated commitment to addressing them.
The event aimed to showcase the IMF, development partners, the WBG and member countries' efforts to implement more effective social protection programmes, strengthen social safety nets and protect the vulnerable from economic shocks and the potential adverse effects of reforms.
Along with Dr Sania, Roger Nord, Deputy Director Institute for Capacity Development, IMF; Antoinette Sayeh, Deputy Managing Director, IMF; Fernanda Brollo, Senior Economist, IMF; Brooks Evans, Economist, IMF; and Tanja Goodwin, Senior Country Economist, World Bank Group came to the table to launch a Capacity Development Talk on the IMF's engagement on social protection, with a particular focus on Pakistan and Ecuador.
Dr Sania explained how financial, audit and accounting systems were strengthened and described how critical was the implementation of the Ehsaas governance and the integrity policy.
She also mentioned about the creation of Ehsaas Governance Observatory to track risks and governance practices and explained the importance of building the digital backbone for execution of many Ehsaas programmes.
“An SMS request seeking mechanism and data analytics system were integral to the execution of many programmes.”
She said in 2019, a new biometric payment system was installed after a competitive process to make sure that all payments were biometrically verified.
She noted that the IT infrastructure had undergone a major overhaul and across applications, networks, and data systems, many reforms had been implemented.
The webinar maintained that inequality around the world had been growing in recent years and the pandemic had made matters worse.
It was observed that more and more of the IMF's policy advice and capacity development collaborations focused on the issues of social spending and social protection.
IMF is an organization of 190 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.
With input from APP