Stolen assets of developing countries must be returned: Pakistan
Stolen assets of developing countries must be returned: Pakistan

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 09 (APP): Pakistan has called for creating a “robust” mechanism for the return of stolen assets of developing countries that illicitly flow to “haven” nations.

“These flows stifle economic growth in the developing countries and condemn their poor population to a life of inequality and indignity,” Aamir Khan, deputy permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN, told the General Assembly’s Second Committee, which deals with economic and financial matters.

Speaking in a debate on a range of global economic issues, he called as “shocking” the findings in last month’s report of the Panel on Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity (FACTI) that billions of dollars annually go out of the developing countries in illicit financial flows.

According to the report, one trillion dollars is taken out each year by criminals; 20 to 40 billion dollars is in the form of bribes received by the corrupt; seven trillion dollars in stolen assets is parked in “haven” countries, and 5 to 6 hundred billion dollars is lost each year in tax avoidance by multinational companies.

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“This bleeding of the poorer countries must stop,” Aamir Khan said.

Destination countries of the illicit financial flows from developing countries, he said must punish the enablers and eliminate “safe haven” for such money.

“A fair and equitable tax regime with minimum corporate tax is essential for combating profit shifting by multinational corporations and tax evasion and avoidance,” the Pakistani delegate said, adding that revenues from digital transactions should be taxed where the revenues are generated, not elsewhere.

Unequal investment treaties should be discarded or revised and a fair system set up for adjudication of investment disputes, he said.

“The measures implemented by governments in the context of COVID-19 should be immune from any claims against them by companies and corporations,” Aamir Khans said, adding that bodies monitoring illicit financial flows should not be used for financial or political coercion of developing countries.

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“A UN mechanism needs to be established to oversee and coordinate the work of the various official and private bodies which deal with illicit financial flows,” the Pakistani delegate added.

Meanwhile, a 2016 report of the Business and Sustainable Commission observed, “There is no single type of investment [more essential] for achievement of the SDGs than [sustainable] infrastructure”.

“Upto 92 percent of all SDG targets are influenced by both network and non-network infrastructures,” Aamir Khan said.

The Pakistani delegate underscored the need for mobilizing an additional $1.5 trillion investment annually for the developing countries in sustainable infrastructures. “This would be more productively utilized for investment in sustainable infrastructure. Likewise, official development assistance can be used more effectively in infrastructure building.”