A World Bank group report has discussed the ease with which it is possible to do business in Pakistan. The federal government in Islamabad is not happy with it – with the country ranked 174 out of 189 economies on the “Trading Across Border” indicator in its Doing Business Report of 2017.
The World Bank has based its ranking of these countries, especially Pakistan, on the figures they got from business community contributors and lawyers. However, the report was apparently highly exaggerated and sources from the Finance Ministry showed that when the report’s data was compared with figures they got from various different computerized systems by the Ministry of Finance during the clearance of goods for export and import. Besides exaggerating the details and figures, a lot of the information provided was also inaccurate, according to the concerned officials from the Ministry.
The World Bank also reported that for export documentary compliance takes almost sixty hours and costs more than $300. However, the Ministry stated that the same thing in Pakistan takes only twelve hours, and for less than $50.
Likewise the Customs Computerized System recorded border compliance as taking only 5 hours but the report stated it as 75 hours. Even the cost was more than doubled in the report: $426 in the report against $105 according to the government officials. Importing costs were also higher in the report by the World Bank.
The discrepancies reported by the World Bank were talked about by different stakeholders in a meeting held in Karachi which was also attended by the World Bank’s Doing Business Team. Exporters and customs brokers were shocked at the exaggerated figures shown in the WB report.
Ministry officials also held a video conference with the Doing Business Team in Singapore to talk about the issue. The World Bank has gone so far as to acknowledge the mistakes it made in the report and has reassured the Pakistani government that it will look into the matter.
Serious concerns and doubts about the methodology used by the World Bank were also raised when it was revealed by senior officials that the “mandatory documents” reported by the World Bank were not even needed.
Rightly officials from the Ministry of Finance stated that these reviews portrayed a negative image of the country which would further worsen the trade situation for the country. All the positive reforms that the government had introduced to further help the export situation of the country had not been talked about at all in the report and this especially angered officials.