ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s competitiveness has risen by seven places to 115th, according to latest Global Competitiveness Report (2017-18) of the World Economic Forum.

The improvement in ranks shows that Pakistan’s competitiveness has improved for the past two consecutive years. It indicates that certain macroeconomic indicators of the country have improved in the last one year. In 2016-17, Pakistan’s competitiveness rose by four places.

In the global context, for the ninth consecutive year, Switzerland ranks as the most competitive economy in the world, United States and Singapore rank at second and third respectively.

Competitiveness has improved across most countries in South Asia, in particular in the two Himalayan countries of Bhutan (82nd, up 15) and Nepal (88th, up 10).

On a similarly positive trend, Pakistan (115th, up seven) and Bangladesh (99th, up seven) have both improved their scores across all pillars of competitiveness. Both India (40th, down one) and Sri Lanka (85th, down 14 ranks) had corruption and inefficient government bureaucracy as key factors for hindering progress.

Country’s ranking in competitiveness index has risen in the past two years

According to the report, this year among 114 global competitiveness indicators, Pakistan showed improvements on 82 key indices, whereas on 20 indices the country lost its previous position. And on 12 indices Pakistan, retained its position as last year.

The Global Competitiveness Report 2017-18 also identifies corruption as the most problematic factor for doing business in Pakistan, followed by tax rates, government instability/coups and crime and thefts. Almost similar problems were highlighted in last year’s report, showing that no development was seen on this account.

On the institutions pillar, Pakistan improved 21 ranks and stands at 90 from 111 last year. Infrastructure imp­roved from 116 to 110, on the Mac­roeconomic Stability Pillar Pakistan improved 10 ranks and stands at 106.

On other pillars, among 137 countries, Pakistan ranks at Health and Primary Education 129, losing one rank from last year, Higher Education and Training improved from 123 to 120, Goods Market Efficiency 107, Labour Market Efficiency 128, Fina­ncial Market Sophistication 96, Technological Readiness 111.

Maintaining the regional competitiveness edge Pakistan ranks at 28 on the pillar of Market Size. Also showing sustained improvements on Business Sophistication the rank changed from 95 last year to 81 in 2017, while on the Innovation pillar an impressive improvement of 15 points now places Pakistan at 60 rank on the global competitiveness index.

Chief Executive Officer of Mishal Pakistan, the Country Partner Institute of the Global Competitiveness and Benchmarking Network of the World Economic Forum Amir Jahangir, said, “Pakistan is classified as a factor driven economy, which primarily depends on improving its institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic stability, health and primary education indicators.

Pakistan has managed to resist the global crisis and has shown resilience for economic recovery. Globally countries that are competitive have shown resilience to crisis. However, the reforms agenda still remains an unfinished business”.

Among 138 countries the performance of institutions are ranked as following: Intellectual Property Organisation (97), Judicial Inde­pendence (80), Police Services (116), Auditor General of Pakistan Revenues (110), National Highways Authority (76), Pakistan Railways (52), Civil Aviation Authority (91), NEPRA (115), Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (116), National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (99), Competition Commission of Pakistan (70), Pakistan Customs (93), State Bank of Pakistan among other 138 Central Banks at (89), SECP at (91) and TDAP (135).

Published in Dawn, September 27th, 2017