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ISLAMABAD: Tariq Bajwa, special assistant to the prime minister on finance, on Thursday emphasised the importance of promoting sustainability-driven capacity building, policies and practices in the public sector.

He was speaking as chief guest at the Pakistan Public Sector Conference-2023, organised by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants here.

The conference brought together key public financial management stakeholders under one roof.

Tariq Bajwa spoke about the evolving role of finance leadership in the public sector and emphasised the importance of promoting sustainability-driven capacity building, policies and practices in the public sector.

The leaders explored the challenges and the solutions that face public sector professionals as they work towards transforming the public sector finance.

The conference was aimed at developing a knowledge sharing platform in Pakistan for key public sector stakeholders, including the government, international development partners, public sector finance professionals and other key enablers in the public sector ecosystem.

The importance of professionalisation and strengthening of Public Financial Management (PFM) remained the main focus of the conversations, as well as the evolving role of finance professionals in building public trust.

In the opening remarks, Assad Hameed Khan, Head of ACCA Pakistan, said that the accountancy is at the centre of public sector transformation in Pakistan. Finance professionals need the right skills to improve PFM and drive policy and spending decisions resulting in a resilient, inclusive and sustainable economic development of Pakistan.’

‘ACCA's public sector members and future members around the world make an extraordinary difference to the lives of so many, playing a key role in the delivery of public services and setting the regulatory environment to meet societies& global challenges,’ he added.

Dr Irum Anjum Khan, Additional Auditor General, Office of Auditor General of Pakistan, delivered the Guest of Honour address and expanded on the role of the Supreme Audit Institution in building and enhancing public trust in the public sector.

The event also featured two insightful panel discussions with representation from key public sector stakeholders and other key enablers in the public sector ecosystem.

The first panel, moderated by Shah Bano Khan, focused on the need to strengthen professionalisation in the public sector. The panellists included Salman Amin from the Ministry of Privatisation, Adnan Rafique from the Department of Auditor General of Pakistan, Inam Ullah Kakra from KPMG and Shahzad Hassan, Accountant General of Pakistan Revenues, Controller General of Accounts.

The second panel discussion deliberated on recent developments in public sector reforms and transformation. The keynote for the session was delivered by Abbas Naqvi, Partner and Head of Risk Management at KPMG.

The panellists included Noaman Ali from The World Bank, Nadeem Wali from USAID, Kamran Rashid Khan from the Department of Auditor General of Pakistan, Anam Hussain from Oxford Policy Management, and Naveed Aziz from the Foreign, ACCA’s global head of public sector, Alex Metcalfe, presented on the role of government balance sheets for sustainable public finances. Hammad Yunus, CEO, PFM Solutions, delivered a keynote explaining ACCA’s PFM capacity building framework aimed at strengthening and enhancing the results of PFM reforms through professionalisation of the public sector and alignment with the national sustainability agenda.

It was highlighted that the sustainability reporting and assurance are evolving rapidly and will play an increasingly prominent role in the public sector.

The conference concluded with closing remarks delivered by Asad Mehmood Malik, Head of Business Development – North, ACCA Pakistan.

The event was well-attended and provided a forum for public sector specialists and professionals to stay abreast with the latest in the public sector and learn from the experts.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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