KARACHI                -               Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that over 200 multinational companies are operating in the port city, and he wants to provide them more and more facilities so that their businesses could thrive more and more.

Presiding over a high-level meeting of Ease of Doing Business Reforms Council here on Saturday, the CM said the purpose of inviting leading businessmen and heads of organisations to the meeting was to give them an opportunity to give their input so that the business environment could be improved. “I have to bring huge investment to Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Larkana, Mirpurkhas and Thatta regions,” he said, and added, “Therefore, I’ll take drastic measures to facilitate the investors.”

He directed the Board of Revenue (BoR) to reduce registration and transfer of property period from 149 to six days by empowering investors and enabling people to apply online.

“I am fed up with sub-registrar offices. So either reform them or pack them up. I’ll hand over the registration work to the private sector,” he said.

The meeting was attended by leading businessperson, including World Bank (WB) representative Amjad Bashir, Hubco CEO Khalid Mansoor, FPCCI President Mian Amjad Nisar, KCCI President Agha Shuhab Ahmed, OICCI President Shahzad Dada, ABAD President, CEO Sindh Health Care Dr Minhaj Kidwai, Amreli Steel chairman, Gul Ahmed Chairman Mohammad Bashir and Pasha President Jehan Ara. The chief minister was assisted by Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, P&D Chairman M. Waseem and PSCM Sajid Jamal Abro.

The chief minister had especially called the heads of 10 different government agencies such as KE CEO Syed Monis Abdullah, KWSB MD Asadullah Khan, representative of SBCA, Commissioner SESSI, Commissioner Karachi and other concerned officials. Admitting that registration of property and its transfer took 149 days to six months, the SMBR said therefore he would launch the system for submitting applications online.

The chief minister directed him to further reduce the period from six months to six days, and said he was going to launch the system for submitting applications online by the end of February.

Murad directed the SMBR to outsource Board of Revenue’s call center, which, he said, had failed to redress public complaints. “We need an efficient system and efficient manpower, otherwise ask them to pack up,” he directed the SMBR.

Secretary Investment gave a detailed briefing on the issues of red-tape, lethargy and inefficiency in the government system. The chief minister instructed the SMBR to launch an online application system and appoint two sub-registrars on special duty who would expedite the process of registration, transfer and mutation cases which usually lingered on for more than three days.

It was also decided that e-stamping system would be introduced at the earliest by amending the law in the assembly.

Murad said that the SBCA had established a single window facility for all categories of buildings. He directed KWSB and Sindh Environment Protection Agency to establish an inter-agency arrangement.

The chief minister directed the KWSB and SEPA officials to use SWF portals for NOCs and include all the six deputy commissioners officer at the SWF portals. He directed Investment department to assist SSGC to sign up the SWF Portal.

It was pointed out that KMC, KDA and MDA were using the portal and the chief secretary was directed to ask the Lyari Development Authority to sign up Portal latest by June 30.

A proposal was given by the industrialists to outsource inspection of under-construction buildings under SBCA regulations.

They suggested the chief minister to hand over the inspection work to the ABAD.

Secretary Investment said that Lahore Development Authority had entrusted the duty of inspecting under-construction buildings to private parties. The chief minister vowed to consider the proposal.

It was also decided that to establish dedicated and automated Commercial Courts/Benches at Karachi District courts for fast track settlement of business disputes of value up to Rs2 million by amending CPC 1908. The chief minister issued directives to the law department to provide a roadmap within 30 days.

Secretary Investment told the meeting that the SESSI has established Collection & Benefits Portal by accepting Over the Counter (OTC) payment in collaboration of the MCD, PITB and SESSI Counter. The SESSI has completed initial data of 18000 enterprises. Active logins are at 6,644. Therefore, the chief minister directed SESSI Commissioner to ensure all logins active within next 30 days.

It was pointed out by Secretary Najam Shah that Right of Way permission for Local Government bodies for new connections has a lengthy procedure. The chief minister directed secretary local government to introduce quick turnaround time for these permissions. “I want e-system for the requests and permission,” he said. Murad also directed Secretary Energy to automate wiring certificates and it must be done within a month.

The chief minister also directed the chief secretary to personally monitor the simplification of trade licenses. These license must be issued within 15 days. It was decided to convert low-risk trade licenses into notification without any fees. It must be consolidated so that one license could operate across Sindh, he said and ordered online application, renewal and payment of license fee totally automated.

The meeting agreed that the council would be meeting every month so that all the outstanding issues could be resolved at the highest forum.