BOI plans to improve ease of doing business in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: The Board of Investment (BOI), in coordination with the World Bank, is working to improve the ease of doing business ranking of Pakistan.

In this connection, World Bank Group Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice Director Cecile Fruman visited BOI and met with BOI Chairman and Minister of State Dr Miftah Ismail.

The BOI chairman on the occasion said that Pakistan is one of the few South Asian countries, which ranks high in the World Bank indicators of ease of doing business.

The pursuits of policies of liberalisation, deregulation, delicensing and disinvestment during the last two decades have brought about significant improvements in domestic and foreign investments, he added.

Furthermore, he said considering the importance of business environment and human resource governance for enhancing investment levels in the country, BOI has developed a plan to improve ease of doing business ranking of Pakistan in consultation with all federal and provincial stakeholders.

The action plan of BOI, he said is focusing on simplifying business registration, digitalising registering property, streamlining construction permits, simplifying tax regime, simplifying procedures for getting electricity, improving investment regulatory framework for resolving insolvency, getting credit and resolving disputes, improving trading across the borders, promoting alternate dispute resolutions (ADRs), and simplifying work visa & branch/liaison offices procedures.

“Our plan is to focus on streamlining of procedures by setting up one-stop shops, making procedures simpler and faster by introducing technology and reducing or eliminating minimum capital requirements. We have extensive programs to address solvency laws, Bankruptcy laws, enforcing contracts and protecting investors,” he remarked.

The focus of our plan is introducing transparency through simplification of rules and regulations, automation and training and skills development, he said.

The World Bank representative informed that the VOSS integration registration system of FBR, SECP & EOBI, is not operational/accessible.

In response, BOI Secretary Iftikhar Babar informed them that virtual one-stop-shop (VOSS), integrating registrations of SECP, FBR and EOBI has already been launched/became operational a day before and the BOI has also linked the VOSS on BOI website to facilitate the investors/business community to use one web portal for registrations of their businesses in Pakistan.

The World Bank delegation intimated that they intend to make ease of doing business report 2016, highlighting different economic indicators of Pakistan and also to collect government departments quality data, provide technical and financial support, and coordinating with all the agencies i.e. their action plans, human resources so that to achieve the result of medium and long-term planning and promote foreign direct investment (FDI).

Dr Miftah Ismail also informed them about some major achievement and progress made so far, and elaborated that to facilitate registering property, digitalisation / computerisation of land record in three provinces are almost completed.

He added that Lahore Development Authority is working to streamline the whole procedure, integrating required NOCs from different organisations.

FBR, he said, has launched the integrated end-to-end IT solution (IRIS) on the eight processes i.e. registration, declaration, audit / assessment, rectification, penalty, default surcharge, refunds; and exemption certificates.

Dr Ismail further said that the provincial governments were also working on the concept of streamlining provincial taxes to eliminate or merge those taxes which have fewer contributions in the provincial revenue and also establishing citizen facilitation centres for paying different taxes, fees and contributions at one place.

He added that new web-based software for custom clearance (WeBOC) has been launched in the Port Qasim to improve the customs clearances. The BOI chairman said that FBR with the support of World Bank initiated a pilot reforms project at Wagah Border to facilitate importers and exporters.

At the end, the BOI chairman thanked Cecile Fruman for visiting BOI and appreciated their efforts and intention to boost investment in Pakistan through their positive step for improvement.

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