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Progress of Ehsaas governance observatory reviewed

By Our Correspondent
October 03, 2020

Islamabad : Progress on the Ehsaas Governance and Integrity Policy and Observatory that was officially approved by the Cabinet and launched in November 2019 was reviewed here Friday with the PM’s Special Assistant Dr. Sania Nishtar in the chair.

The policy is binding on the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) and its executing agencies—the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, and Trust for Voluntary Organizations. With an aim to discourage corruption and ensure rule-based control on the use of public resources and to promote efficiency, transparency, and accountability of results, Ehsaas has institutionalized this Governance Policy and Observatory as one of its 135 programmes and policy initiatives.

Taking stock of the progress of all four executing agencies of PASSD, Dr. Nishtar commented, “Work on the Ehsaas Governance Observatory has been ongoing for the last one year. We did a progress review today; the one year-stock take against the December 2019 baselines will be taken in December 2020. All Poverty Division agencies implementing Ehsaas are meant to comply with the Governance and Integrity Policy. The Ehsaas Governance Observatory is meant to gauge the status of compliance with the Policy. We accord high priority to integrity in governance and delivery.”

The policy is meant to address institutionalized corruption and collusion in social welfare organizations. It outlines how board should function, which policies are crucial, and the importance of whistleblowing and conflict of interest. It also sets the institutional framework to promote integrity through risk management and assurance, maintenance of risk registers, appointment of accountability officers; error, fraud and corruption frameworks, IT security departments, strengthening of financial management and fiduciary systems, procurement systems, access to information, electronic filing, and development of workplans, and creation of credible data sets. In addition, the policy is aimed at eliminating discretionary powers.

The policy also outlines that by the end of four years, PASSD will strive to use blockchain technology to ensure data transparency. The Governance Observatory serves as an implementation and monitoring tool for the policy. Since the roll out of the policy and observatory, PASSD and its entities have begun to demonstrate improvement in implementation of governance reforms.