Although soaring Swiss accounts held by Pakistanis is not a novel idea but there has been an upsurge in these numbers which raises an eyebrow amid rising crackdown against unofficial money and stringent regulatory policies in the recent past.
Going against the world wide trend, money stacking in Central Swiss Bank by Pakistani nationals has jumped up by 16 percent reaching a swooping figure of 1.5 billion francs almost exceeding PKR 10,000 crore beating the numbers held by Indians.
SNB, Switzerland’s National Bank, has released their latest figures which reveal that the cumulative amount linked to Pakistan held in Swiss accounts stood at CHF 1.5 billion.
Out of this number, funds amounting to CHF 1.477 billion are directly held by Pakistani nationals while the remaining chunk of CHF 36 million is owned by various wealth managers.
While comparing the amount held by India and Pakistan, it is observed that Pakistani funds in Swiss accounts have surged for the second consecutive year while in case of India this number has dropped down during the same period standing at CHF 1.2 billion roughly PKS 8,292 crore during the year 2015. Thus plunging by a swooping number of 33 percent. Looking at the year on year comparison, this is the first time during last three years that Pakistani funds have outnumbered Indian balance.
This seems like a goods news for Indian counterparts as the recent Narinder Modi Government has taken stringent measures for hunting illicit black money and has taken many steps to curb tax evasion. Thus, proving to be beneficial for their economy has illicit money outflow has dropped sharply. Unfortunately Pakistan lags on controlling this menace due to ineffective policies and limited focus on curtailing tax evasion in the economy.
Similarly, China has also seen a decline in its foreign funds held in SNB, declining to CHF 7.4 billion from CHF 8.16 billion last year. Same is the case for many other countries who saw major plunge in their funds linked to Swiss accounts due to a global restriction against the previous hidden policies in Alpine nation. In case of US, the funds dropped to CHF 195 billion in 2015 versus CHF 244 billion during the previous year. Funds held by UK on the other hand, surged to CHF 345 billion versus CHF 321 last year.
Although much has talked about the origin of these funds in the political and media corridors of all these countries but SNB has mentioned that these funds do not include the amount held by their foreign clients under the umbrella of Shadow companies or Shell companies. They have also indicated that the Swiss authority is not mentioning the amount of black money which is the biggest question mark on these numbers not only in Pakistan but also in many other Asian countries.
According to the SNB, Pakistani held funds in Swiss banks peaked at CHF 3.43 billion during the year 2001, while these funds declined significantly since then dropping to a lowest figure of CHF 1.23 billion by 2013, the lowest since 1996.
The reasons for these peaks and troughs are ambiguous due to lack of investigation by the authorities and poor policies in case of Pakistan. The current situation however is not very encouraging as excessive outflow of funds in foreign accounts always raises a question mark on the authorities.
image credit: getty image