WB recognises Pak business friendly

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THE World Bank (WB) has listed Pakistan among the top 20 countries that introduced reforms in ease of doing business after the bank finally acknowledged some of initiatives that were undertaken early last year but were not fully appreciated in the previous report.
In six areas i.e. starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, paying taxes and trading across borders, the World Bank has recognized the efforts of both federal and provincial governments. Indeed for this feat, the relevant quarters including Board of Investment and provincial authorities really deserve appreciation. At the top level, Prime Minister Imran Khan personally led the efforts. His focus from day one has remained to do away with the unnecessary approvals and simplify the procedures with the aim to attract both foreign and domestic investment which in fact is the only panacea to address the chronic economic issues faced by the country since long. Procedures relating to starting a business in the country were made easier through the online one-stop shop. In addition to improvements in property registration, obtaining a construction permit became easier after the Sindh Building and Control Authority and Lahore Development Authority streamlined approval workflows and improved the operational efficiency of their one-stop stops. The launching of online portals for new commercial connections made getting electricity easier. We understand that the World Bank ranking will prove to be significant for Pakistan to promote its image abroad but in our view, more steps need to be taken to really attract the investment from different sources. Firstly, efforts need to be taken to decrease the prices of necessary inputs especially the electricity and gas so that those desiring to establish a factory or industry in Pakistan could make globally competitive products. Secondly, our interest rate hovering over 13.25% is very high when compared with other regional countries including Bangladesh and India where the policy rate is in single digit. Our Central Bank should now seriously consider revising downward the policy rate in order to lure the entrepreneurs to invest in different sectors of economy. Doing so indeed will generate immense economic activity important to generate new jobs and achieve sustainable economic growth.

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