LAHORE: After the World Bank ranked Pakistan behind India in dealing with official construction permits in its recent report, the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has decided to outsource inspection of structures — a key job for swift issuance of certificates after completion of residential, commercial and industrial buildings.
The government also plans to improve other functions – provision of electricity connections and credit and protecting minority investors – on priority following the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 study report.
“We have decided to outsource inspection segment of completed residential, commercial and industrial building structures falling within territorial jurisdiction (controlled area) of the LDA. This is the area where Pakistan ranks at 112 among 190 countries,” a senior LDA official told Dawn on Tuesday.
The WB evaluates 190 economies on ease of doing business through nine potential indicators, including starting a business (a general indicator), dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.
According to the WB report, Pakistan improved its ranking to 112 as compared to India’s 136. In terms of dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, getting credit and protecting minority investors, Pakistan ranked considerably low at 112, 123, 119 and 28, respectively.
But India’s ranking improved on the aforementioned indicators at 27, 22, 25 and 13, respectively among the 190 countries.
The country’s ranking on registering property, paying taxes, trading across borders and enforcing contracts improved to 151, 161, 111 and 156, respectively with India standing at 154, 115, 68 and 168, respectively. However, India’s ranking in resolving insolvency remained at 52 with Pakistan at 58.
“The WB in various meetings evaluated our procedural model related to buildings’ maps approval, revision in plans, construction and completion. They also observed the same model of Sindh Building Control Authority that involves 18 procedures,” the LDA official, who requested anonymity, explained.
He said the LDA planned to retain the procedure related to receipt of applications for issuance of building maps/construction. However, inspection of completed structures — which consumes a lot of time — would not be the job of the LDA’s town planning wing anymore.
“Under best global practices, there must be a role of the third party to ensure timely disposal of various tasks. That is why we are doing this to give relief to the public,” the official said. And the role of the third party could expand subject to success of the current move, he claimed.
Published in Dawn, January 8th, 2020