Pakistan makes important progress: World Bank
Pakistan made some important progress towards the ease of doing business for small and medium-sized enterprises, said the World Bank, coming among the top 10 economies for an improvement in the regulatory environment.
“Pakistan announced a three-year road map to improve its global ranking on doing business earlier this year,” said the World Bank after the release of its latest edition of Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All. “Consistent with that, the country completed three reforms in the past year in registering property, getting credit and trading across borders – the highest number in a single year over the past decade.”
Pakistan’s position in the doing business global rankings improved to 144 out of 190 economies this year as against 148 in 2016. “These improvements provide important building blocks for a more efficient business environment that would encourage local entrepreneurs in the country,” a statement quoted Illango Patchamuthu, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan, as saying. “At the same time, Pakistan needs to accelerate reforms towards better regulatory practices for a more conducive business environment for higher growth and job creation.” The Washington-based lender said in Lahore transferring property was made easier by improving the quality of land administration through digitising ownership and land records, “making land administration more reliable than before.” “Cross-border trade was eased by updating electronic customs platforms in Lahore and Karachi. It now takes less time for an exporter to comply with border regulations,” it said. “Pakistan improved access to credit information by legally guaranteeing borrowers’ rights to inspect their own data.”
The World Bank said the credit bureau also more than doubled its borrower coverage, “thereby increasing the amount of creditor information and providing more financial information to prospective lenders.”
“Pakistan now ranks second in the South Asia region in the area of getting credit,” it added. The bank, in the 14th annual edition of its flagship report, said local entrepreneurs still face difficulties in several areas, such as enforcing contracts and getting electricity.
It takes almost three years to settle a commercial dispute compared to the global average of 637 days.
The report compares business regulations that enhance business activity and those that constraint it in 190 economies. The bank assessed 11 indicators – starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, resolving insolvency and labour market regulation – to rank an economy. This year’s report includes, for the first time, a gender dimension in three indicators: starting a business, registering property and enforcing contracts.
“The country needs to pay significant attention to gender aspects, going forward,” the bank said. The paying taxes indicator set has been expanded as well to include measures of post-filing processes relating to tax audits and tax refund.
The bank said tax audit compliance in Pakistan takes 29 hours, which is considerably less than the regional average of 48 hours, but higher than the global average of 17 hours.