Special Assistant to the Prime Minister & Chairman Board of Investment (BOI) Dr. Miftah Ismail
said the World Bank in its report “Doing Business 2017” has recognized Pakistan among the 10 economies which made biggest improvements in their business regulations.
The report deems Pakistan the only South Asian economy having improved its position from 148 to 144 out of 190 countries.He said this improvement was made as a result of efforts by the federal and provincial governments.
Addressing a seminar on “Doing Business Reforms in Pakistan” at a local hotel on Tuesday, Miftah said the key reform areas of business climate improvement were simplification of business registration procedures, promoting use of ADRs, improvement in process of paying taxes, establishing commercial benches at district level, streamlining construction permits and land registration processes, modernization of business laws, streamlining procedures involve din getting electricity, trading across borders, protecting investors and resolving insolvency.
He said Pakistan pursued investment policy favourable for industrial and manufacturing sector till 1997. The first investment policy, framed in 1997, opened all economic sectors including infrastructure, social and services for foreign investment. Keeping in view of the globalization trends around the world, Investment Policy 2013 was formulated to further improve the investment climate in the country.
He said that for developing countries like Pakistan, where small and medium size enterprises make up a large share of economy, the quality business environment is a critical policy for the government to drive economic growth, create jobs and encourage private sector competition. The chairman said “mobilizing investment and ensuring that it contributes to sustainable development, is a priority for Pakistan and it follows a liberal investment regime and facilitation.
He said that new businesses in Pakistan still face dire problems in acquiring, titling, pricing, transferring,and possessing land, obtaining no-objection certificates from various agencies, acquiring water and gas connections,sewerage facilities, a reliable electricity supply,and access roads,and securing finances.
“We need to further improve doing business indicators through deeper discussion on the areas where regulatory reforms are needed. Another way to boost growth is improving business climate through strengthening governance and enabling the private sector to thrive”, he added. He said that Pakistan has an ideal location which would make it the hub of international trade and commerce. Pakistan is the sixth largest market in the world with 190 million people. Around 65 million people constitute the middle class, which have growing needs in different fields. The country has the 10th largest labour force in the world which according to the labour force survey 2013-14, stands at 60.09 million. The raw material and labour force is comparatively cheaper in the country.
Pakistan follows a very liberal and investor’s friendly policies .It has one of the most attractive investment regimes in the world, he concluded.