A meeting with the World Bank senior level visiting team was held on Thursday (January 25) at BoI Islamabad. The Pakistan side was led by Naeem Zamindar, Chairman BoI while World Bank team was led by Annette Dixon, Regional Vice President, South Asia region. While welcoming the visiting team, Chairman BoI appreciated the efforts of the World Bank for improving business climate in the country and emphasized for further simplification of procedures in every area of the business cycle that was important to attract investment in the country, said a press release issued on Monday.
Fareena Mazhar, Executive Director General BoI gave a detailed presentation highlighting the initiatives of federal and provincial governments to automate and reform the processes involved in each business indicator. She apprised the participants that 41 reforms actions had been introduced in Pakistan for the last two years but World Bank has recognized only four reforms in the last year. She stressed on updating and expansion of contributors list, reviewing the flaws in the methodology and need for data corrections.
Naheed Memon, Chairperson Sindh Board of Investment also appreciated the efforts being made by World Bank Group, BoI and other stakeholders to improve EoDB in Pakistan. While referring to the efforts of Government of Sindh, she informed the house that a notification is being issued by Karachi Water & Sewerage Board (KWSB) regarding reduction of connection time from 61 to 21 days, Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) will eliminate four (04) procedures for reducing time from 60 to 32 days for getting construction permit and Government of Sindh will launch their Business Portal shortly.
Secretary Planning & Development, Government of Punjab Iftikhar Ali Sahoo also shared with the visiting team reforms actions initiated by Government of Punjab, which inter-alia include automated land registration process in Lahore reducing the time taken from 56 days to 18 days and procedures from 7 to 4, reduction of time for getting construction permits from 60 to 21 days only and automation and linkages of sub-registrar offices with PLRA system. He also highlighted that three mediation centers made functional at District Court Lahore and around 6,812 references resolved out of 10,637 references.
Annette Dixon, Regional Vice President World Bank (South Asia Region) expressed the views that 100 days sprint is a good and fantastic idea to have remarkable results but for the sustainability of this national reforms agenda, long term efforts would also be required. She also emphasized that parallel efforts are also required to improve the situations in other supporting areas like energy, infrastructure, security and particularly Human Development etc. She also proposed a strong feedback mechanism for enhancing ease of doing business.
The Vice President, IFC also cherished the idea of 100 days sprint and expressed the hope that it will not reduce the focus on long term sustainability of the whole reforms effort. She expressed the hope that SMEs will feel the change of all these initiatives. The Vice President also put emphasis that our objective should be to bring our country in the list of top reformers.
The chairman in his concluding remarks underscored that CPEC and SEZs initiatives of Pakistan provided huge investment opportunities to investors across all over the world. He also underlined that in Pakistan entrepreneurs are recognized as important drivers of economic and social progress and invited the Bank to invest in National Insurance Fund and other venture capital funds.
The other members of World Bank team were Nena Stoiljkovic, Regional Vice President, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Patchamuthu Illangovan, Country Director, Pakistan, Nadeem Siddiqui, Senior Manager, IFC, Shabana Khawar, Principal Country Officer, IFC, Gabi George Afram, Program Leader, Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions, Amjad Bashir, Senior Economist and Kiran Afzal, Senior Private Sector Specialist.
Besides Chairman BoI, the Pakistan side was represented by Naheed Memon, Chairperson Sindh Board of Investment, Samaira Nazir, Secretary BoI, Fareena Mazhar, Additional Secretary and Lead on DB Reforms, BoI, Saleem Ranja, Additional Secretary, BoI, Iftikhar Ali Sahoo, Secretary Planning and Development Department, Punjab and other concerned officers of the BoI and provincial governments of Punjab and Sindh.-PR