World Bank team to arrive in Pakistan to assess impact of reforms

It will visit Punjab and Sindh to get response of businesses to the reforms drive

Our Correspondent April 05, 2019
The logo of the World Bank. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: A World Bank team will arrive in Pakistan on April 15 to gauge the impact of government reforms for improving the ease of doing business and ranking of Pakistan.

The team will visit Punjab and Sindh to seek response of businesses to the reforms drive and the upcoming ranking of Pakistan will be based on the surveys and feedback received by the World Bank from businessmen.

These remarks were made in a high-level review meeting on the ease of doing business reforms agenda at the Board of Investment (BOI) on Thursday. Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile, Industry and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood chaired the huddle.

Dawood highlighted that Pakistan had improved its ranking by 11 points and moved from 147th to 136th place in the Doing Business Report 2019. Praising the implementation of reforms, he insisted that continued efforts by all provincial and federal government departments were required.

He also appreciated assistance of the World Bank Group as a business climate reform partner.

The adviser stressed that doing business reforms were the priority of Prime Minister Imran Khan, who regularly reviewed its progress. The premier has already chaired two review meetings and the next meeting is expected shortly, which will be attended by all relevant federal secretaries and provincial chief secretaries.

Addressing the meeting participants, BOI Chairman Haroon Sharif said the government was pushing the reform agenda, which would transform business climate in the country. The role of all government departments, both provincial and federal, was important for efficient implementation of reforms, he said.

BOI Executive Director General Fareena Mazhar briefed the participants about the reforms undertaken so far. She revealed that an update on reforms was being provided to the World Bank Group, which was an important document that would contribute to improvement in the ease of doing business ranking.

Dawood directed all government agencies to make sure that all the under-process reforms were completed before April 30, 2019. He highlighted the importance of improving the business climate and reiterated close coordination among government departments for efficient and transparent facilitation.

The BOI shared some specific reforms undertaken by the provincial and federal government departments. These included complete integration of the Punjab and Sindh business registration portals. This is expected to help reduce time and ease the process of registering a company and will give one platform where businesses can be started.

Under the reforms drive, property registration has been completely automated in Punjab. Property registration online has reduced the time drastically for the process and has led to improvement in the transparency and quality of land administration.

As part of the reforms, the facility of online payment of federal and provincial taxes, contributions and duties is being made available. Online payments will help Pakistan to improve its ranking in the paying taxes indicator.

Key departments are being integrated with the WeBOC system, which will help importers and exporters and reduce the time and cost of compliance for them.

Under the reforms, K-Electric has made the process of getting a commercial electricity connection easier by making it online where the customer can track its application as well.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 5th, 2019.

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