Pakistan to stay on FATF’s grey list till June 2020

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Pakistan to stay on FATF's grey list till June 2020

PARIS: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has decided that Pakistan will remain on its Grey List till June 2020.
The decision was taken by the global terror financing watchdog after the conclusion of the February 16-21 group meetings and plenary in Paris.
According to a statement issued on Friday, the FATF made it clear that it hoped Pakistan would completely achieve all the targets by the next plenary meeting in June 2020, when it would analyse the country s compliance on its recommendations.
While acknowledging the steps taken by Pakistan towards implementation of [the plan] and welcoming its high-level political commitment, FATF highlighted the need for further actions for completing the Action Plan by June 2020.
The statement further stated that the government “stands committed for taking all necessary action” in order to complete the remaining items in the action plan and that a strategy in this regard has been formulated and is being implemented.
Earlier today, it was reported that Pakistan has completed its briefing to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) over implementation of the 27 recommendations about the anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) mechanism.
The intergovernmental organization is satisfied with Pakistan’s measures. Pakistan will presumably receive time till October to implement all recommendations and exit the FATF grey list.
The FATF members have lauded Islamabad over the steps that have been taken so far. It has further been observed that Pakistan has adopted an effective strategy in the financial sector to curb terror financing and enhanced cooperation between institutions to combat transfer of funds to terrorists.
On Wednesday, sources said that despite of strong opposition and efforts from India, all chances of Pakistan getting into the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) black list have diminished as several member states have termed Islamabad’s performance in the implementation of the 27 recommendations about the anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) mechanism as “commendable”.
It has been revealed that Pakistan has already obtained the support required to avoid the blacklist, and at this stage, no voting will be done on Pakistan’s exit from the grey list of the FATF as the period of stay in the list is at least two years.
Meanwhile, Pakistan was required to take appropriate measures for the implementation of 27 action points by October 2020. It had been observed that Pakistan has adopted an effective strategy in the financial sector to curb terror financing and enhanced cooperation between institutions to combat transfer of funds to terrorists.
The staff of non-banking finance sector was informed about measures taken by the state concerning FATF’s action points for AML/CFT.
Moreover, the efforts of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to effectively monitor financial institutions through audits and maintenance of passengers’ data at the airports have been hailed.
The global illicit financing watchdog has also been informed of Pakistan’s strategic plan to restrict smuggling of currency, jewelry and other valuables.
In the light of the FATF recommendations, the Presidential Tax Law (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2019, was issued to prevent the smuggling of currency and other valuables, which was made applicable from Dec. 26, 2019.
Under the ordinance, strict penalties were to be imposed on smuggling of foreign currency, gold and diamonds.
The government, through a presidential ordinance introduced significant changes to tax laws to implement concessions promised to traders, reduce duty on import of low-value mobile phones, and penalise currency smugglers.
The 24-page ordinance was notified on Dec 28, but released to the media on Jan. 1. The amendments were also applied to income tax, sales tax and customs duty.
The ordinance was issued in order to enable sharing of information between the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) to facilitate the latter to perform its functions as laid down in the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2010, and to ensure compliance with the FATF regulations.

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