Pakistan slips in WEF competitiveness rankings

Published: October 1, 2015



Pakistan slipped in global rankings across most key indicators of economic competitiveness in an influential annual report compiled by the World Economic Forum, though it included some key victories for the Nawaz administration on education policy, fiscal governance, and removing the burden of government regulations on businesses.

The 2016 Global Competi­tiveness Report, which compares governance in 140 countries, ranked Pakistan 126th – 14th from the bottom – for this year, compared to 125th last year. That overall weakness, however, hides several interesting patterns within the components of the rankings.

The WEF finds that state institutions such as the judiciary appear to have weakened, transparency in government decision-making has decreased, and availability of internet access in schools deteriorated in 2014. On the other hand, Pakistan jumped 28 ranks on measures of the government’s budget deficit as a percentage of the size of the economy.

The biggest improvement was in the rankings for quality of higher education, a category in which Pakistan jumped dramatically from 131st to 75th place worldwide, a leap of 56 places in the rankings.

The performance of the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) has also been on the decline, with major indicators showing poor performance over the last year. The burden of customs procedures has been ranked at 111 this year as compared to 87 in 2014.


For an administration that sees itself as pro-business, the WEF report included some good news: Pakistan’s ranking in decreasing the burden of government regulation improved from 103 in 2014 to an impressive 86 in 2015. However, worryingly, the performance of the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) on effective anti-monopoly policy has significantly deteriorated, slipping from 85 in 2014 to 106 in 2015.

Other regulatory bodies have also shown weak governance indicators, losing ranks to other emerging markets. The Accountant General of Pakistan, for instance, has gone from the rank of 90 in the last year to 117 in 2015 on the strength of accounting and reporting. Similarly, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), which had seen great success over the last few years, proved to be weaker as it ranked 93 compared to 71 in 2014 among 140 regulators of security exchanges globally. Among South Asian nations, India led the way at 55, improving by 16 points. Sri Lanka (68) also ranked higher than Pakistan.


Business managers surveyed by the report’s authors cited tax rates, inflation, access to financing, inefficient government bureaucracy, and policy instability as the other most problematic factors identified by the businesspersons. In what might lend support to key PML-N critic Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), people have reported corruption as the number one problem in doing business this year, which in the previous year was the second most troubling factor.

Pakistan has also shown resilience in improving macro-economic indicators in the basic requirement pillars, while the pillars for efficiency enhancers, innovation, and sophistication have shown weaknesses over the last one year.

Judicial independence and transparency

Judicial independence lost its ranking by 15 points, slipping from 67 of last year to 82 in 2015, according to the report. People’s perception about judicial independence has greatly changed in last couple of years and political parties are also complaining about this element.

According to the report, the government has shown greater favoritism in decisions and on the indicators of transparency in government policymaking, Pakistan stood at 125th, highlighting secrecy in official business.


Published in The Express Tribune, October 1st, 2015.

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Reader Comments (25)

  • Oct 1, 2015 - 9:03AM

    No surprises.
    When the rulers are corrupt and have active cases in courts against them, then this is bound to happen. I hope the PML-N, PPP supporters can see through the desecration of their country by these scoundrels.
    Vote for Imran Khan #NA122 ;)Recommend

  • Haris
    Oct 1, 2015 - 9:38AM

    126 out of 140…. Thank you Nawaz Sharif !Recommend

  • Prada
    Oct 1, 2015 - 9:41AM

    While India on 55th still has scope to improve (Indian govt wants it in the top 10 list), Pakistan’s position at 126th is pathetic. Sri Lanka is way ahead of Pakistan and I guess, so would Bangladesh. Recommend

  • SuperNeo
    Oct 1, 2015 - 10:02AM

    Blame MODI for this too.Recommend

  • Talking Point
    Oct 1, 2015 - 10:28AM

    Talking impartially , is it possible to jump 56 places in 1 year , especially up ( as going down is helped by gravity , entrophy etc ) with almost the same set up ? Shows that these indices are just hotch potch and do not reflect ground realities but only throw out the result of assigned ratings on each parameter. Recommend

  • Malatesh
    Oct 1, 2015 - 10:34AM

    No no, there should be balance.. It is actually could be a conspiracy of West to malign muslim country.Recommend

    Oct 1, 2015 - 10:54AM

    Well said SuperNeo . .

    This is all because of INDIA and MODIRecommend

  • tauqeer
    Oct 1, 2015 - 11:15AM

    is it a true narrative? not necessarily…..why not our private or public institutions/ organizations make their own independent ranking? Always looking from others’ eyes….. honestly that is not a fair job. Recommend

  • Saud
    Oct 1, 2015 - 11:30AM

    Lots of improvement buried in the article. The pessimistic headline paints a negative picture. Corruption becoming number 1 problem from No.2 could also mean that the formerly No.1 problem has been addressed and mitigated.Recommend

  • SKChadha
    Oct 1, 2015 - 11:49AM

    As compared to Pakistan, India is just half in ranking …… :-(((((((((Recommend

  • ABK Ind
    Oct 1, 2015 - 12:08PM

    @Talking Point:
    discrediting things that isn’t music to ones hears wont change the truth… Recommend

  • Zarb e Hanood
    Oct 1, 2015 - 12:24PM

    The Nuclear weapon armed Martial Central Asian and Arab warrior horsemen of Pakistan need no external affirmation by way of concept of Economic Competitiveness unlike the Hindu Bania.Recommend

  • harkol
    Oct 1, 2015 - 12:30PM

    Take heart. There are 14 countries who are doing worse.Recommend

  • Talking Point
    Oct 1, 2015 - 12:34PM

    @ABK Ind:
    Why don’t you address the point made by me : Given the long gestation time to produce results in the health and education sector , is it possible to jump 56 ranks in one single year. Recommend

  • NA
    Oct 1, 2015 - 12:46PM

    That is right. We must always believe in our own statistics, history, view points, claims, and explanations. Otherwise, the life can become very uneasy.Recommend

  • Dr.shafi
    Oct 1, 2015 - 12:47PM

    @at failed rebels, dear we voted for imran khan too in KPK, no change occured except in health and education which r worst and deteriorating.Recommend

  • Saleem
    Oct 1, 2015 - 1:18PM

    Show this report to Gallop Poll (Pakistan) and Transparency International (Pakistan). Both cronies!!Recommend

  • M Tanwir
    Oct 1, 2015 - 1:25PM

    Thank you Raheel Sharif, thank youRecommend

  • Gp65
    Oct 1, 2015 - 1:57PM

    Meanwhile under Modi’s leadership, India reversed 5 years of decline and climbed an impressive 16 ranks to reach no.55. By no means is this grounds for complacency for India but it shows that hard work and dedication can show results in a short time.Recommend

  • Pankaj
    Oct 1, 2015 - 7:12PM

    Decline in competitiveness index fine, Pak government can not ignore Kashmir issue just for countries prosperity. Recommend

  • Pakistan
    Oct 2, 2015 - 7:59AM

    Hey guy we are here talking about Pakistan not India so stay away from the discussion and another thing India will never be in top 10…Recommend

  • Pakistan
    Oct 2, 2015 - 1:15PM

    @Pankaj: Hey guy why are you adding Kashmir issue how Kashmir issue is related to oue economy? Recommend

  • Sharath Chandra
    Oct 29, 2015 - 4:41PM

    Dossiers need to be prepared on Kashmir. So other things can wait.Recommend

  • Sharath Chandra
    Oct 29, 2015 - 4:45PM

    @Pakistan: Unless Kashmir issue is solved Pakistan will have to eat grass : so said ZAB and BB.Recommend

    Nov 10, 2015 - 10:56AM

    But Pakistan can enjoy with more nuke arsenals, Recommend

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