IMF wants audit of $1.4bn Covid fund
A request for input from Pakistan’s constitutional auditors was made on Monday by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the use of $1.4 billion in emergency financial assistance provided for the Covid-19 disaster response as part of a validation process of the country’s economic and financial data, as the IMF discussed the possibility of reviving its $6 billion programs.
The Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) presented with an IMF team the principal findings and recommendations of his audit of the Covid-19 expenses. The audit was conducted by the Auditor General of Pakistan. This occurred on the same day that the government announced Shaukat Tarin’s re-designation as Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue, after his six-month term as finance minister came to an end due to the government’s failure to get him elected as a senator, despite previous announcements to the contrary.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) paid $1.4 billion in response to the Covid-19 pandemic that struck Pakistan in February-March 2020, enabling the government to introduce the Rs1.24 trillion support-cumulation-stimulus package, of which a portion is still unutilized.
According to a statement issued by the AGP office, the meeting was convened at the request of the IMF resident representative in the country. While Ms. Sanchez was joined by an economist, the AGP was accompanied by Deputy Auditor General Maqbool Ahmed Gondal and Director General Policy Tafakhar Ali Asadi, who both worked for the AGP.
The meeting came as a result of policy-level discussions held last week between the International Monetary Fund and a Pakistani economic team led by then-finance minister Shaukat Tarin.
Mr. Tarin had stated on Friday that Pakistan had given some statistics with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which they wished to verify and report back to the government team, which would remain in place until October 19. According to Mr. Tarin, “They indicated they were checking the statistics we shared with them and that they would get back to us.” He said, “We told them that we welcomed the assessment.”
The AGP’s director-general policy informed the IMF team of the inclusion of Covid-related expenditure in the report as well as the audit of the expenditure of Utility Stores Corporation (USC) subsidies on food products during the epidemic, according to the AGP. “The suggestions section of the study was well received by the IMF representatives,” according to the statement.
The audit report on Covid-related expenditures was shown to the IMF team, according to informed sources, and covered the entire spectrum of expenditures, including those relating to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), the federal government, the Ministry of Finance, Benazir Income Support Program, USC, and all other departments and organizations involved in the spending process.
The IMF team was informed that the report contained serious shortcomings relating to preparedness, systematic issues, warehousing of various goods and supplies, and their proper accounting procedures and that it had made recommendations for improving and addressing those shortcomings. The IMF team agreed with the recommendations.
Published in Lahore Herald #CovidFund, #CovidFundAudit, #IMF, #ShaukatTarin Published in Lahore Herald