Pakistan’s exports to reach record levels by 2023: adviser
ISLAMABAD: The government would take exports to record levels by 2023 with the provision of a better business environment for the industrial sector in the country, a senior government official said.
Addressing the launching ceremony of the 7th Reform Action Plan, organised by the Board of Investment (BoI), Adviser to the Prime Minister for Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood said: “Improving Pakistan’s Ease of Doing Business Ranking will boost foreign investment in the country.”
Pakistan’s rise in the last two years from 148 points to 108 points in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings report is a milestone in the growth of foreign investment in the country, he added.
The adviser said one of the main areas is to work on improving the country’s Ease of Doing Business ranking to provide a better business environment for foreign and local investment in the country.
Besides, the government is also committed to reduce the cost of doing business in the country, the adviser said, adding that the country has moved from de-industrialisation to industrial growth under the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government and now all the industrial units are moving ahead in manufacturing.
The government has given more priority to exports and for this every possible facility will be provided to the industry to increase production, Dawood said.
The government has prioritised bringing foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country and, in this regard, “We want to improve our EODB ranking to provide a better business environment to [the] Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country,” the adviser said.
Dawood said that in the last financial year 2019/20, the information technology (IT) exports increased 47 per cent and textile value addition products 23 per cent.
“At present, we are facing a lot of challenges in economy and trade fronts and the State Bank of Pakistan is confident to manage the current account and fiscal deficits.
The Monetary and Fiscal Coordination Committee is fully active to observe all issues related to the monetary and fiscal sides, he said.
Adviser Dawood said the government has followed the policy of tariff rationalisation to provide competitiveness to the local industry in the country and the government has lowered the huge tariff lines and zero tariff duties on the raw material of potential industries.
Meanwhile, addressing the forum, BoI secretary Fareena Mazhar said that the Doing Business Report for 2021 and 2022 is likely to be announced by the end of December this year.
“I am very much confident that Pakistan will improve its position further.” She said enabling a business environment plays a pivotal role in attracting domestic and foreign investments.
All over the world, the emphasis is on improving the business climate, Fareena Mazhar said, adding that higher rankings in the World Bank EODB Index indicate better regulations for businesses and stronger protections of their rights.
An environment where new entrants with drive and innovative ideas can get started in business and where productive firms can invest, expand, and create new jobs, she added.
The BoI secretary said the EoDB ranking is instrumental to improve the size of the formal sector, to curb corruption through transparency and accountability.
In short, improvements in the EoDB ranking reduces the time, cost and processes involved in starting and operating a business, she said, adding that it is very encouraging to say that during the last two years Pakistan advanced 39 places to 108th place on the Ease of Doing Business global ranking.
The company’s registration has shown a 63 per cent growth and 99 per cent of these registrations were done online, while 45 per cent applicants were issued registration certificates on the same day, she added.
Fareena Mazhar said that the credit of this outstanding performance on the global stage goes to the collective and coordinated efforts of the federal and the provincial governments of Punjab and Sindh, spearheaded by the Board of Investment.
The BoI secretary said the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and the Employees Old-Age Benefit Institution (EOBI) have also played a key role for driving reforms under the federal indicators where Pakistan has demonstrated an exemplary performance.
For every Doing Business cycle, an action plan containing more than 50 reforms across all 10 indicators is prepared in consultation with all the relevant stakeholders.
So far, Pakistan has implemented six reform action plans. “Today we are gathered here to launch the 7th plan,” she added.
The 7th plan is mainly focusing on improvements in firm entry regulations, reliability of electricity, tax regulations, trade regulations, creditors’ rights, better property rights, court efficiency, etc, and reforms in these areas play a major role in the process of economic development.
Other participants, including BoI additional secretary Mukarram Jah Ansari, Acting Country Head of the World Bank, Galilius J Draugelis, and secretary for the Sindh Investment Department, Zahid Ali Abbasi, also highlighted the different aspects of the EODB situation in Pakistan and implementation of reforms for improving the business environment in the country.
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