Pakistan has improved its ranking by jumping up 28 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index, reaching the 108th position.
Pakistan carried out six reforms last year that helped improve its ranking from 136 to 108, according to the World Bank’s annual flagship report “Ease of Doing Business 2020”.
Besides this, Pakistan is among the 10 economies that improved the most in ease of doing business after implementing regulatory reforms. The economies with the most notable improvement in Doing Business 2020 report are Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Togo, Bahrain, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kuwait, China, India, and Nigeria.
Pakistan has improved its score to 61 from 52.8, suggesting that the country did remarkable work and built on the reforms introduced in the previous year. Last year, Pakistan was ranked 136th among the 190 nations surveyed.
The report stated that Pakistan improved the most in the list as it developed an ambitious reform strategy by setting up a national secretariat as well as a prime minister’s reform steering committee to ensure progress.
Most of the reforms evolved around the Doing Business indicators. Doing Business working groups have been set up at both municipal and provincial levels, stated the report.
The World Bank said that Pakistan made starting a business easier by providing more options through the online one-stop-shop. This reform applies to both Karachi and Lahore. Furthermore, Pakistan (Lahore) abolished the Labor Department registration fee.
Dealing With Construction Permits
Pakistan (Karachi specifically) made obtaining a construction permit easier and faster by streamlining the approval process and also made construction safer by ensuring that building quality inspections take place regularly. Pakistan (Lahore) also made obtaining a construction permit easier and faster by streamlining the approval process and by improving the operational efficiency of its one-stop-shop for construction permits.
The country introduced online payment modules for value-added tax and corporate income tax and made it less costly by reducing the corporate income tax rate. This reform applies to both Karachi and Lahore.
Getting an electricity connection also got easier thanks to enforcing service delivery time frames and by launching an online portal for new applications. Pakistan also increased the transparency of electricity tariff changes for both Karachi and Lahore.
Trading Across Borders
Trading across borders was made easier by enhancing the integration of various agencies in the Web-Based One Customs (WEBOC) electronic system and coordinating joint physical inspections at the port. This reform applies to both Karachi and Lahore.
Pakistan (Karachi) made property registration faster by making it easier to execute and register a deed at the Office of the Sub-Registrar. Pakistan (Lahore) made registering property easier by increasing the transparency of the land administration system.
Pakistan Continues to Make Progress
World Bank’s Country Director for Pakistan Illango Patchamuthu said that substantial reforms at both federal and provincial levels over the past year have contributed to the improvement.
“This rise is significant and made possible by collective and coordinated actions of Federal Government and Provincial Governments of Sindh and Punjab over the past year,” said Illango.
The accelerated reform agenda has many noteworthy features to improve the quality of regulations, reduce time and streamline processes. This momentum needs to be sustained in the coming years for Pakistan to continue to make progress.
What is the Ease of Doing Business Index?
The Ease of Doing Business index is used as a guide by foreign investors to learn more about a country, aiding their decision on investing in the economy. The report is based on surveys carried out in Lahore and Karachi. The results are based on the work done from November 2018 to June 2019.
It measures how close each economy is to global practices in business regulations, on the measure of absolute progress towards best practices. International investors consult the report and the Global Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum before taking decisions on investment plans.
Comparison With India
Among South Asian nations, although India remained at the top by improving 14 positions getting to 63rd, Pakistan also went up by securing a place among the top ten global business climate reformers and improving 28 positions in a year.
Pakistan continues to be the best in protecting the minority investors indicator, earning the maximum possible points on the extent of ownership and control index, which measures governance safeguards protecting shareholders from undue board control and entrenchment. Globally, Pakistan is in the top 30 economies on this measure.
You can read the full report here.