ISLAMABAD: World Bank Group President David R. Malpass on Thursday said the reforms carried out by Pakistan for ease of doing business would help create jobs, attract investment and generate more tax revenue.
Malpass acknowledged the efforts taken by the government to improve its ranking on the Ease of Doing Business index.
“Your country jumped to 108th place from 136th last year. Your reforms made it easier for the entrepreneurs to start business, get electricity and construction permits, register property, pay taxes and trade across border”, he remarked at the exhibition held to celebrate the country’s 28-point jump in ease of doing business ranking.
He said that Pakistan could bring further ease in business by improving its judicial procedures, skill training and women empowerment. He also called for more digitisation of procedures and underscored the importance of transparency in reforms to win investors’ confidence.
The World Bank would work hard to make Pakistan succeed as the country has the potential to make further reforms and cope with the challenges, he added.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, while speaking at the event, also informed the visiting delegation that the government is committed towards strengthening the economy, ensuring transparency and good governance through institutional reforms, tax reforms and socioeconomic development of marginalised sections of the society.
He added that ease of doing business, widening the tax base, domestic resource mobilisation, attracting foreign investment and financial reforms are the foremost priority of the government.
He said the government had launched various initiatives aimed at welfare of youth, poverty alleviation and housing sectors that would ultimately result in economic development.
The PM also stressed upon his economic team to make a new start by doing away with the old mindset of resisting wealth creation in the country.
He said the future belonged to wealth creation enabling government to collect more taxes and spend on public welfare.
The government wants industrialisation and alleviate poverty through more tax collection and spending to uplift the people’s living standards, he added.
The PM also appreciated the World Bank’s financial and technical support to the country.
On the other hand, WB President Malpass also lauded PM for personally spearheading various flagship programmes of the government.
He also recognised government’s efforts towards economic turn-around, reducing expenditures and initiating reforms in critical sectors of the economy.
Adviser to PM on Commerce, Industries and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood said that improvement of country’s ranking in “Ease of Doing Business” will attract foreign investment.
He also added that the improvement was an unprecedented jump in the country’s business environment and increase investment.
Later, a round-table conference discussed issues related to energy sector and reforming tax regime of the country.
PM’s Finance Adviser Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh gave an overview of the achievements made by the government during last year.
He said there was a considerable progress in exports, containing fiscal and current account deficit, revenue collection, restricting expenditures and exchange rate stabilisation.
Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar highlighted overall reform agenda of the government for economic turn-around.
Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan and Assistant to PM on Energy Nadeem Babar shared the government’s strategy to overcome issues related to energy sector including circular debt and efforts being made to diversify energy mix with greater reliance on alternate and renewable energy resources.
In a separate visit to the Tarbela Dam, President Malpass also expressed satisfaction over the completion of the 4th Extension Hydropower Project, noting that ‘the work on the project is impressive’.
“I am happy over completion of the project within time and at less than estimated cost,” he said in a briefing after visiting the Tarbela Dam Project.
Published in Dawn, November 1st, 2019