KARACHI: The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) organized a two-day “Conference on Public Financial Management” on November 24 and November 25 in Islamabad in collaboration with World Bank and USAID.
“Evolve and Emerge” – the theme of the conference depicted the journey of Public Financial Management as an essential part of the development process around the world. The conference showcased eminent speakers from Pakistan and around the world, who shared their experiences and divulge how Public Financial Management has evolved and emerged into perhaps one critical factor for growth and sustainability.
Ahsan Iqbal, Honourable Minister for Planning Development and Reforms Government of Pakistan, Mohammad Zubair Minister of State for Privatization, Chairman Privatization Commission, YacoobSuttar, President Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan and council members graced the occasion.
Throughout the years, ICAP has been a consistent strategic partner of the public sector providing valuable support and guidance and formulation of fiscal policies and implementation of standards. The Conference is a continuation on the part of ICAP to strengthen and enhance the public finance management system of the Country.
The conference brought together international and national experts on the subject, parliamentarians, regulatory agencies, professional accountants, donor agencies, and others and emphasised the need to promote better understanding, urgency and cooperation between all these stakeholders for effective implementation of Public Financial Management in Pakistan and the region.
Ian Ball, Chairman CIPFA International said that the only solution for Pakistan is implementation of Public Financial Management to improve the standard of living, economic development and bring prosperity.He illustrated that the poor financial management would create environment ripe of corruption and fraud, put growth of global economy at risk and consequently the welfare of citizens. Mr. Ball presented success story of New Zealand where he spearheaded the efforts for conversion to accrual based accounting and is now ranked first in the world for social and environment progress. He also indicated price for poor governance and financial management that a nation would pay in the shape of violence and destruction.
Ball analysed the status in Pakistan and discussed the implications and way forward particularly in public sector. His paper ended with an analysis of international public sector accounting and financial management and its implications on Pakistan.
We need to develop clear policies and reflect them in our budgets; expenditure during the year needs to be within the budget lines. Results of spending should be analysed and used for policy formulation. Pakistan is still struggling to link the policy, planning and budgeting mechanism said Hanid Mukhtar, Ex-Senior Economist World bank in the conference. Providing way forward Mr. Mukhtar suggested roles and responsibilities under the framework of proposed “Public Finance and Administration Act” .
Rajkumar Adukia, a council member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India explained the status of conversion to accrual based accounting by various governments and highlighted the challenges for its implementation to the audience.
Mohammad Akram Khan, with extensive working at relevant substantial positions in the Government and research on the subject gave a good account of status of a very important aspect of PFM in Pakistan in his paper “Cash Management in Government. He also has given various suggestion to Government of Pakistan to improve cash management.
Jens Heiling, Advisor International Public Sector Accounting Standard Board (IPSASB – IFAC) emphasised on implementation of public sector accounting standards which helps harmonisation, transparency, reliable information for decision making and trusts by resource providers being investors and donors.
Mohammad Fahim Director General “Financial Accounting and Budgeting Systems” (FABS) of “Project to Improve Financial Reporting and Auditing” (PIFRA) provided status of PFM reforms in Pakistan which commenced with the conception of PIFRA in 1996.
The Conference included sessions of notable experts such as Dr. Ishrat Husain, Dean and Director – Institute of Business Administration (IBA),Rob Whiteman, Chief Executive, CIPFA, UK. The Conference was attended by representatives of provincial ministries, senior officials of government and bureaucrats.
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