Pakistan aims to improve its ranking to 75th position from 108th

World Bank’s doing business report 2023

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan envisions a big jump in World Bank’s doing business report 2023 to improve its ranking to 75th position from current 108th. 
The Board of Investment in collaboration with the World Bank Group launched 7th Reform Action Plan here on Wednesday. “The 7th Reform Action Plan is mainly focusing on improvements in firm entry regulations, reliability of electricity, tax regulations, trade regulations, creditors’ rights, better property rights, and court efficiency etc. as reforms in these areas play a major role in accelerating economic development,” stated Secretary Board of Investment (BOI), Ms Fareena Mazhar. 
She further highlighted that during last two years Pakistan had advanced 39 places to secure 108th place on the ease of doing business global ranking. While discussing how the recent initiatives facilitated ease of doing business, she mentioned that the companies’ registration through SECP has shown a 63% growth and 99% of these registrations were done online while 45% applicants were issued registration certificates on the same day.
She expressed full confidence in further improvement in Pakistan’s Doing Business ranking in the future and appreciated the government of Punjab & Sindh and role of World Bank, International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) for their full support and assistance.
The concerted effort of Board of Investment & federal & provincial agencies has resulted in implementation of major reforms that are resolving decades old grievances of the private sector. 
One of the most noticeable reforms has been the promulgation of commercial courts in Punjab. The milestone initiative brings down the dispute resolution from 1000 to 180 days. Similarly Pakistan has joined the league of fewer than 10 jurisdictions globally that offer single certification system. The single certificate can be applied for at SECP portal. Digitization of land records is another landmark reform that eliminates on ground inspection by introduction of Geographical Inspection System. 
Addressing the ceremony, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce & Investment, Abdul Razak Dawood apprised about various initiatives taken by the government to promote economic growth such as tax reforms, improved trade policy, implemented a new ‘RAAST’ payment system, revised Foreign Exchange Manual so businesses can bring in and take out forex easily, new tariff rationalization initiative that has created investment opportunities in engineering, textile, iron & steel, auto sector, pharmaceutical, corporate dairy, paper products, poultry and tourism sectors. He said that he was confident that the 7th Reform Action plan would further improve the business environment in Pakistan.  Razak further shared that government has initiated doing business agenda at a larger scale in the form of “Pakistan Regulatory Modernization Initiative” that aims to reduce regulatory compliance burden on businesses. 
Additional Secretary BOI, Mukarram Jah Ansari briefed the guests about methodology of the doing business report, highlights of the reforms undertaken in past two years and explained about the reforms to be undertaken in the 7th Action Plan. 
He shared that as per Compliance Cost Savings (CCS) Survey the business reforms undertaken from 2017-2020 have resulted in 69 million USD savings for businesses. Talking about the 7th Action plan, Ansari said that BOI along with federal and provincial stakeholders aims to achieve 85 reforms including simultaneous registration for NTN & STRN, under Starting a Business, piloting of 1st phase of Pakistan Single Window to integrate Government Departments in Trading Across Borders, Implementation of e-stamping in Sindh for property registration etc. 
We are very confident that Pakistan will make a big jump in DB Report 2023 and improve from our current ranking of 108th to 75th position” said. Ansari. The British High Commission representative, Richard Ough emphasized the need for continued progress and government coordination to improve Pakistan’s business environment, in particular: through the Pakistan Regulatory Modernization Initiative (PRMI), and seeing significant reforms such as General Sales Tax Harmonization through. The UK is a proud supporter of the Government of Pakistan in these efforts, including wider macro-economic reform. 
The Operations Manager for Pakistan at the World Bank, Gailius J. Draugelis appreciated the efforts of federal and provincial governments in working together on improving the investment climate in Pakistan. He stressed the need for greater interprovincial coordination in developing a regulatory framework based on mutual recognition to prevent duplication and reduce the compliance burden on businesses. “The competition for business environment reforms is intensifying and a collaborative effort is needed for Pakistan to secure a place as one of the top reformers going forward”, he added.
The Regional Head of Operations for IFC, Ms. Shabana Khawar seconded the importance of collaborating and ensuring timely implementation of business reforms. She said “The 7th Ease of Doing Reform Action Plan can play a transformative role in catalyzing private investments and SME growth. At the same time, it will be necessary for the government to closely monitor the impact of doing business reforms and ensure investors both here and abroad take stock of it.”

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt