Razak directs to accelerate ease of doing business reforms

Updated Jun 06 2020


“We are expecting a further improvement in the ease of doing business index this year too.”  — AFP/File
“We are expecting a further improvement in the ease of doing business index this year too.” — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Ahead of the next World Bank review of ease of doing business index in October, the steering committee of Pakistan Regulatory Modernisation Initiative (PRMI) on Friday held its meeting and directed provinces to speed up the much-needed reform process.

The committee, constituted by Prime Minister Imran Khan last year, had implemented several reforms in consultation with provinces which translated into an improvement in the country’s ranking on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business by 28 places to 108 in 2019.

“We are expecting a further improvement in the ease of doing business index this year too,” Commerce Adviser Abdul Razak Dawood told Dawn after chairing the meeting. He claimed significant improvement in 10 critical areas of regulations.

PRMI is the first step taken at the national level in consultation with provinces that aims at simplifying bureaucratic framework and the registration process in order to facilitate the business community.

Under it, the process of mapping, rationalisation, modernisation and automation will be done.

The adviser said substantial progress was made in some areas. Next meeting will be held in the last week of June to assess the flow of progress, he added.

On Friday, an official announcement said that Board of Investment Chairman Atif Riaz Bokhari briefed the committee over the progress on the implementation of reforms.

Bokhaari shared the progress on different initiatives under the umbrella of PRMI, including mapping of various requirements, regulatory guillotine and licensing of small businesses at local government level.

He further shared the developments on Pakistan Business Portal, a part of Pakistan Goes Global Project, which is a platform that will allow all types of businesses to find relevant regulatory requirements, submit their application online and electronically pay the relevant fees as well.

Razak said the government aims to provide a business-friendly and hassle-free environment to invite more domestic as well as foreign investments. He also stressed the need to take the commercial community on board to generate a meaningful dialogue for meeting the intended goals of the project.

The adviser commended the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa administration for removing unnecessary local government registration, licences and no-objection certificates. He suggested that other provinces should also follow its footsteps. However, he noted that there is a need to pursue aggressive communication and advocacy campaign to highlight such success stories.

Discussing the issues pertaining to the Federal Board of Revenue, Razak advised them to come up with a plan to facilitate businesses, particularly with respect to customs clearing issues on the ports. He asked the BOI to build capacity and ensure hand holding of small provinces and regions for effective launching of similar regulatory reforms process in their areas.

Institutional Reforms Adviser Dr Ishrat Hussain, and secretaries of commerce, and BOI and other senior officers attended the meeting.

Published in Dawn, June 6th, 2020