New reforms make starting business easier in Pakistan: WB report

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan implemented four reforms during last year, while during past 15 years it carried out 19 business reforms to ease starting a business and doing business, a World Bank report said.

According to the report titled “Doing Business 2018, Reforming to Create Jobs”, Pakistan made starting a business easier by replacing the need to obtain a digital signature for company incorporation with a less costly personal identification number, says a World Bank latest Report.

It said Pakistan improved the transparency of the land registration process by making the fee schedule and list of documents to submit for property registration available online.

Pakistan also increased minority investor protections by making it easier to sue directors in case of prejudicial transactions with interested parties. This reform applies to both Karachi and Lahore. In addition, Pakistan made importing and exporting easier by developing a new container terminal and enhancing its customs platform for electronic document submission.

The WB report ranked Pakistan at 147 out of 190 economies in ease of doing business while the country ranks 142 in starting a business. South Asian economies carried out a record 20 business reforms in the past year, bringing to a total of 127 the number of reforms enacted in the region over the past 15 years, says the World Bank Group’s Doing Business report, which monitors the ease of doing business for small and medium enterprises around the world.

India implemented eight of the past year’s reforms, a record for the country in a single year. This earned India a spot among this year’s global top improvers, says Doing Business 2018: Reforming to Create Jobs, the 15th annual edition in the report series released the other day.

A major focus of reforms in the past year were in the area of protecting minority investors, with half of the region’s eight economies implementing measures to strengthen protections for minority shareholders.

The reforms included enhanced remedies to address cases of prejudicial transactions between interested parties in India; rules to clarify ownership and control structures in Bhutan; greater corporate transparency in Nepal; and facilitating legal action against directors in c

The region’s economies perform well in the doing business areas of protecting minority investors and staring a business. Registering a new business, for example, takes on average 15.5 days, which is faster than the current global average of 20 days, and a significant improvement over the 50 days it took to start a business in the region 15 years ago.

The region lags in areas such as registering property and resolving insolvency. It takes on average 112 days to register property in South Asia, compared with the global average of 49.5 days. And, creditors for resolving insolvency recover about one-third of the property value, which is less than half of the recovery rate of 71.2 percent in OECD high-income economies.

Since the start of doing business, all eight regional economies have carried out a total of 127 reforms. Starting a business, with 25 reforms, was the leading indicator for regional reforms.

Fifteen years ago, it cost over 40 percent of the value of a claim to enforce a  contract in the region; now, it takes less than 30 percent, which is better than the global average of 33 percent. Bhutan has made the largest improvement in this area. Fifteen years ago, it cost 90 percent of the value of a claim to enforce a contract in Bhutan; now, it takes 23 percent, placing the country in the top 25 globally in this area.


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