Pakistan secured a position among the world’s top 10 business climate improvers for its ratification of six regulatory reforms linked with business regulation, according to the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 study.
A statement issued on Thursday mentioning Pakistan’s efforts in bringing improvements to the business climate in the country, which earned it a victory as a jump by 28 places to a global ranking of 108 from 136 in one year.
“This rise is significant and made possible by collective and coordinated actions of Federal Government and Provincial Governments of Sindh and Punjab over the past year,” stated Illango Patchamuthu, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan. “The accelerated reform agenda has many noteworthy features to improve the quality of regulations, reduce time and streamline processes. This momentum needs to be sustained in the coming years for Pakistan to continue to make progress,” the statement added.
The statement mentioned that the reforms that cleared the way to Pakistan’s latest ranking are also “significant”.
“The country has made starting a business easier by expanding the functionalities of the online one-stop-shop. This reduced the number of procedures required to set up a business from 10 to five and improved the economy’s score for starting a business. Additionally, in Lahore, the Labour Department registration fee was abolished,” it stated.
The World Bank report also recognized that the process of getting a construction permit was made easier by concerned authorities at a faster pace in both Karachi and Lahore.
“Pakistan also eased the process for paying taxes by introducing online payment modules for value-added taxes and corporate income taxes. The government also lowered the corporate income tax rate for the 2018 fiscal year. This reform reduced the number of payments from 47 to 34 and the total number of hours required to comply with tax requirements per year from 294 to 283,” according to the statement.
Regarding electricity subscriptions, the World Bank observed that this process had been made much easier.
Karachi and Lahore together “enforced service delivery time frames and launched an online portal for new applications” in parallel with making electricity tariff charges more transparent.
In the same way, the process of property registration had also been made more efficient “by making it easier to execute and register a deed at the Office of the Sub-Registrar”.
“Lahore increased the transparency of the land administration system by publishing its fee schedule online,” according to the statement.
Improvements in cross-border trade were also addressed.
“Pakistan enhanced the integration of various agencies in the Web-Based One Customs (WEBOC) electronic system and ensured coordination of joint physical inspections at the port,” the World Bank mentioned in its report.
In addition to this, appreciation was also shown regarding Pakistan’s protection of minority investors.
“Pakistan continues to perform best on the protecting minority investors indicator, earning the maximum possible points on the extent of ownership and control index, which measures governance safeguards protecting shareholders from undue board control. Globally, Pakistan is in the top 30 economies on this measure,” the statement said.
Despite notable progress, there are certain areas that need to be worked on.
“For example, on enforcing contracts, the country ranks 156th. It takes 1,071 days to resolve a commercial dispute in Pakistan, almost twice the average among OCED high-income economies,” the World Bank study observed.