Operators and enterprises interested in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Pakistan can now register and have their applications processed quickly through online portals.
In a milestone achievement, Pakistan’s Board of Investment (BOI) on Monday launched the SEZs’ e-services portal—Pakistan Regulatory Modernisation Initiative (PRMI) and Investors Relationship Management System (IRMS)—in partnership with IFC and the World Bank.
These initiatives are part of the IFC projects supporting Federal and provincial BOIs, focusing on strengthening their ability to provide services to investors, enhance the country’s image, and promote Pakistan as an investment destination.
The SEZ portal is linked with BOI’s investment promotion web portal, providing easy access to all SEZ registrations, and streamlining the approval process.
The new IRMS will help strengthen BOI’s client relationship management by tracking interactions and following up with existing and new investors. Also, built on Pakistan’s progress in the Ease of Doing Business program, the PRMI will help streamline and digitize applications, renewals, and payments for business registrations, licenses, permits, and no-objection certificates.
It will further enable policymakers and regulators to draw on global best practices for private sector growth, spurring cross-fertilization of ideas across Federal and provincial departments.
“IFC’s engagement with Board of Investment is comprehensive. We have been working with BOI to design and implement investment strategies while modernizing systems through revamped websites and digital portals,” said Nadeem A. Siddiqui, IFC Senior Country Manager for Pakistan.
He said, “We have also partnered with BOI to strengthen its capacity in regulatory reforms through the PRMI, which is part of BOI’s broader strategy to improve productivity, increase exports, and boost economic growth.”
“PRMI will greatly contribute to sustainable regulatory reforms and integrate compliance across Federal and provincial levels through automation. It will help simplify and harmonize regulatory regime across Pakistan,” says Najy Benhassine, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan.
He added, “The automation of regulatory service delivery, with the development of Pakistan Business Portal, will further reduce the need for businesses to visit multiple offices for regulatory compliance.”
IFC has been organizing capacity enhancement courses for BOI and KP-BOIT staff to help attract more investment to Pakistan. It organized a training course, “Investment Promotion for Direct, Measurable Impact,” in November 2020.
The extensive two-months training helped BOI staff create a more systematic approach to identifying investment leads, tracking them, and ensuring effective follow-up.
The launching event was attended by Advisor to the Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Government of Pakistan, Dr. Ishrat Husain, Senior Country Manager IFC, Nadeem Siddiqui, Country Director World Bank Group, Najy Benhassine, British High Commissioner to Pakistan, Christian Turner, and Federal Secretary BOI, Fareena Mazhar, along with government dignitaries and private sector representatives.