Two members of World Bank Doing Business team are visiting Pakistan to validate data and observe reform efforts of the present Government for Doing Business Report, 2019. Various meetings with Federal and Provincial Agencies and contributors are planned during their visit.
In this context, Board of Investment being the secretariat of Doing Business Reform hosted a meeting under the chairmanship of EDG, BOI Ms. Fareena Mazhar at BOI on 23.04.2018. Members of the World Bank visiting team, WB regional staff and officers of BOI attended the meeting.
Ms. Fareena gave a detailed presentation on Reform Actions taken by federal and provincial agencies for improving business climate since June 2017. She highlighted that 85% of the reform actions planned under Sprint I (from January 2018-March 2018) have been completed that shows an encouraging performance. The summary of the reform efforts explained by EDG is as under;
- Steps for starting a business have been reduced from 12 to 4 .VOSS/ E-services are operational with merging of 3 Procedures and removal of 2 procedures.
- Paying taxes is easier now as FBR has introduced several reforms including e payment system and activated Sales Tax Real Time Invoice Verification (STRIVE) system to reduce time for filing taxes by 50%.
- For Trading across Borders, I-form and E-form have been integrated into Web Based One Customs (WeBOC) along with certificate of origin. Since June 2017, WeBOC has also been integrated with six departments involved in custom clearances i.e., Plant Protection, Animal Quarantine, Seed Certification, Ministry of Commerce, TDAP and NTC resulting in significant reduction in time and cost involved in the custom clearances.
- Apart from reform efforts, Data Challenge was also conveyed to the World Bank team for the indicators of Trading across Borders and Getting Credit in which Pakistan’s ranking should have been better than what was depicted in DB Report 2018.
- While appreciating the continuous efforts of the Provincial Governments she explained that for Dealing with construction permits time has been reduced from 272 to 32 days in Karachi and from 266 to 18 days in Lahore.
- Moreover, digitalization has been introduced for land registration in Karachi and Lahore resulting in transparency and facilitation to the customers.
- In Lahore, Alternate Dispute Resolution Mechanism has been introduced along with three Mediation Centers to facilitate out of court settlement of disputes.
- Business Registration Portals have been established in Lahore and Karachi integrating all major departments for starting a business i.e., Labor Department, SESSI, PESSI etc.
BOI team responded to the questions raised by World Bank team regarding coordination, monitoring and communication mechanisms for the presented reforms. World Bank team appreciated the work done during this business cycle and commented that reforms initiated by Pakistan were substantial and the investors and businesses will benefit from them.