PR No. 295 Islamabad: November 30, 2016
The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting here at the Finance Division with the members of the Civil Society in order to exchange views and take valuable input a step towards Pakistan’s intent to join the Open Government Partnership Initiative.
Secretary EAD, Tariq Bajwa, said that the first meeting today will be a curtain raiser where all the participants together discuss the core principals of the Open Government partnership; accountability, citizen participation, technology and innovation and transparency. The participants will identify barriers and solutions to open government in their areas, with the conversation continuing till we are able to develop a consensus on how to move forward, explore future course of action with timelines to ensure that solutions could be turned into proposed Action Plan commitments for government. These steps will ideally be ambitious, specific time-bound, action oriented and measureable.
Welcoming all the participants in the first discussion on the Open Government Partnership initiative, the Finance Minister said; the Government of Pakistan is committed to the principals of open government, accountability and transparency. The Minister also told the participants that Pakistan is also considering accession to OECD convention on combating bribery which focuses on the supply side of bribery. Recently Pakistan has also become a signatory to the OECD Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax matters. It demonstrates Pakistan’s strong commitment to adopt international best practices in the field of tax matters and the multilateral fight against tax evasion through mutual and spontaneous exchange of information.
The participants from the civil society which belonged to various organizations from different walks of life appreciated the initiative taken by the government to join in multilateral conventions that can help in improving the governance structure. They showed deep interest in cooperating with the government in developing a national action plan to help her in achieving the objectives of this initiative.
The Open Government Partnership (OGP) has grown from eight founding governments to 70. Each OGP government partners with civil society to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to improve governance. OGP has become a global movement of reformers working to make government more effective and responsive to its citizens.
The Finance Minister said that as a beginning, civil society and citizens’ open government action plan priorities are being sought. Today’s meeting is the first engagement of the government of Pakistan with the civil society on OGP and all this would help create Pakistan’s Action Plan by the mid June 2017. The Minister also directed that the next meeting should be held in the 2nd week of January to seek in more input.