Corruption eats up Rs500bn revenues

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LAHORE: Corruption has been rampant in the country due to political, social and legal weaknesses resulting in a low tax to GDP ratio, depriving the exchequer of Rs500-600 billion revenues and misuse of 20-30 per cent development expenditure amounting to Rs120 billion per year. Additional Auditor General of Pakistan Muhammad Ayub Tarin stated this while speaking at the media workshop organized by the ACCA at Lahore. He said in order to curb malpractices the government would have to take all the stakeholders on board through education and awareness. He said accountability should be across the board and enforcement should be without any exception. On the political front, causes of ever-increasing corruption include weak political will, immature political culture, immoral electoral processes, immature political leadership and crisis of leadership. He said on the social side we have developed a culture of tolerating corruption. The high consuming life style he added is appreciated in the country irrespective of the manner in which the wealth is accumulated. He said civil society is still in the formative stage to play a decisive role in eradicating corruption. He said lower remunerations to public servants are also cited as a cause of petty corruption. He said this is a weak argument to justify extortion which is a crime. He said more than that the huge discretionary powers vested with bureaucracy are the major cause of corruption. Non-adherence to rules and regulations he added not only weaken the writ of the government but also promote malpractices. He said lack of accountability particularly the absence of internal accountability in most of the public sector institutions has provided the bureaucrats enabling environment for corruption.

Moreover, he added the office of the auditor general of Pakistan lacks capacity to audit all government expenditure and restricts itself to 5-10 per cent audit of institutions where the risks of malpractice are higher. He said inefficient judicial system also force the people to get the things done through speedy money. Tarin said over regulation is a major cause of corruption in the public sector. Rules he added should be simple and clear to discourage corrupt practices. He said the public institutions should be strengthened more through strict internal accountability than depending on external audit where the auditing capacity is limited. He said a proper check and balance mechanism is the most effective deterrent to transgression of public servants. The additional accountant general said that poverty, under development, widening gap between rich and poor is the direct result of corrupt practices prevalent in the society. He said good governance and transparency are the main requisite for sustained and equitable economic growth. He regretted that Pakistan is always place among a few of the most corrupt countries in the world by the global institutions. He said though the office of the auditor general has been given an adequate autonomy in the constitution; however there is a need to remove certain irritants through fresh legislation that compromise on its autonomy.

Courtesy: The News


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