LAHORE -  The Punjab government is planning to set up Punjab Industrial & Business Regulatory Authority (PIBRA), an autonomous body, to regulate businesses and facilitate investors.

Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shehbaz Sharif has already directed for setting up of the authority and policy instruments and enforcement mechanism are being devised for the body. The authority is part of the main agenda for “Ease of doing business”.

As per the official documents, senior officers and leading personalities from the private sector could be hired in the authority. Moreover, all the departments concerned like Planning & Development, Board of Revenue, Energy, Finance, Industries, Law, Labour, Housing and Urban Development, Environment, E&T, Local Government, PIEDMC, PBIT, Punjab Revenue Authority, PBIT are directed to play an active role for promoting business activities.

The chief minister further observed that performance of the institutions can be improved through promotion of the e-government. He said that all out steps should be taken for the promotion of investment and for increasing the economic activities in the province. The steps are being taken by the Punjab government after World Bank Doing Business Report highlighted objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement across 189 countries.

As reported in September, the country’s performance in doing business index deteriorated in recent years (138 in 2016 from 136 in 2015). The doing business in calculated from Lahore and Karachi. The former contributes 35 percent and the later 65 percent. The federal factors include getting electricity (Rank=157), getting credit (Rank=133), protecting majority investors (Rank=25), trading across border (Rank=169), resolving insolvency (Rank=94), paying taxes both federal and provincial (Rank=171).

The provincial factors include registering property (Rank=137), dealing with construction permits by LDA, EPA, LG, WASA, TEPA etc (Rank=61), enforcing of contracts (Rank=151), starting a business by E&T, Labour, PESSI (Rank=122). The rankings are as per on November 20.

Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has already constituted a committee in centre to improve the country’s rating. The documents further reflected that the WB doing business team calculates data on ten topics and four of them are under the provincial control. As the World Bank report depicts that local entrepreneurs still face difficulties in many areas such as enforcing contracts and getting electricity. For instance, it takes almost three years to settle a commercial dispute in the country, compared to the global average of 637 days. And firms in both Karachi and Lahore experience power outages on a daily basis.