The Punjab government has launched the ‘100 Days to Doing Business Reform Plan’ to facilitate businesses and start-ups to improve the investment environment in the province, in keeping with the Punjab Growth Strategy 2018 which sets the target of achieving 8-percent economic growth.
According to Census 2017, Punjab is home to approximately 53 percent of Pakistan’s total population. It is the second largest province with a population as high as 110 million. The rapidly growing population necessitates creation of approximately 1 million quality jobs, according to the Punjab Growth Strategy 2018. “For the economy to grow and flourish, improving the business environment is indispensable,” Secretary Planning and Development Department Iftikhar Ali Sahoo told media on the occasion of the launch of 100 Days Plan to Doing Business Reforms. “The government of Punjab has launched a spate of initiatives to ease up doing business procedures in collaboration with the World Bank. This agenda is being driven at the top level in collaboration with multiple provincial departments and agencies. More importantly, the private sector has been engaged throughout the conception and implementation phase of the reform initiatives.” While aiming to improve the business environment of the province, the Doing Business reform agenda also seeks to improve Pakistan’s ranking on the Doing Business Index. According to the recently published World Bank’s flagship Doing Business Report 2018, Pakistan slipped by three points and now ranks at 147 out of 190 economies. However, it registered progress on the Distance to Frontier (DTF) by 51.65. DTF shows the distance of each economy to the “frontier,” which represents the best performance observed on each of the indicators across all economies in the Doing Business indicators. An economy’s distance to frontier is measured on a scale from 0 to 100, where 0 represents the lowest performance and 100 represents the frontier. The ease of doing business ranking ranges from 1 to 190. According to the WB’s flagship Doing Business Report, India’s ranking improved from 130 to 100 – something that business and economics observers have attributed to personal interest from Prime Minister Narendar Modi. “Ease of doing business involves introducing major reforms across departments like the SECP, State Bank and other national institutions which cannot be done without personal interest from the top leadership,” said Secretary Sahoo. “Which is why the Prime Minister has set up a steering committee under his chairmanship with top officials from these departments tasked to follow up on the reform and implementation process.” World over, economies where small and medium size enterprises find the investment environment conducive through facilitation are the most vibrant.