Islamabad - President Mamnoon Hussain on Wednesday said that the country can not progress if there is annual corruption of Rs 800 billion to Rs 1,000 billion.

He said that nation has the right to ask rulers where the money was being spent. The President noted that in 2008 the national debt stood at Rs 6,700 billion and when the present government took over in 2013 it inherited debt amounting to Rs 14,800 billion.

He was addressing the Seminar on ‘A National Dialogue to Promote Good Governance and Development in Pakistan’, jointly organised by NAB and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

He said that fresh corruption analysis indicate that the menace of corruption is decreasing in the country, adding that the credit in this regard goes to the policies of the government and the efforts of National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

The President stated that corruption creates a sense of insecurity, exacerbates poverty and adds to the misfortune of the vulnerable segments of the society. The President further said that corruption instils a sense of hopelessness and despondency and threatens good values which have been established over centuries.

The President said that in the last decade or so, no new dams or universities were constructed, no power project was materialized and there was no significant spending on education. Therefore it was difficult to comprehend how the debt had mounted.

The President expressed dissatisfaction on Pakistan’s ranking at 126 in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). The President noted that though there has been an improvement in Pakistan’s ranking in the CPI yet this is not enough and called for working more vigorously to combat the menace.

The President said that the curse of corruption has links with multitude of vices. Its roots are linked to injustice, mistrust, suspicion, extremism and terrorist activities adding that without accountability a nation cannot prosper. The President also called for social boycott of corrupt elements.

The President noted that the primary responsibility for ensuring a culture of good governance lies directly on the shoulders of the civil administration. He also called upon the chairman NAB to keep working to ensure effective accountability and encouraged the latter to apprehend big fish against whom ample evidence exists.

The President said that good governance is a necessary requirement for a country’s development.

It protects human rights, delivers justice, maintains law and order, and provides equal opportunities to the masses, stated the President.

Good governance also delivers the fruits of progress and development to all and sundry, added the President.

“In today’s globalized world, good governance helps meet challenges. It makes the system of the state effective and efficient.

People of the country enjoy equal rights under good governance. No one is considered above the law,” stated the President.

The President concluded by calling upon all segments of the society to work in unison in eradicating the menace of corruption.

Addressing the Seminar, Chairman NAB Qamar Zaman Chaudhry) said that collaboration with UNODC comes at a highly propitious time when our nation and the government have accorded highest priority to its fight against corruption and for the first time included it in the development agenda of Pakistan in the context of governance.