ISLAMABAD - The government has developed an Action Plan to improve Pakistan’s business environment through designing regulations which are accessible to all and simple in their implementation.

The Action Plan, finalized after in-depth consultations with concerned federal and provincial stakeholders, is based on bringing improvement in Pakistan’s Doing Business (DB) rankings. The Plan focuses on short and medium term reforms to be implemented for reducing time and procedures as well as costs associated with fulfilling regulatory requirements for business firms.

The DB ranking of countries are closely monitored by global institutional investors and is an important determinant of investment inflows into emerging economies. A document showing initiatives and achievements of present regime on Wednesday revealed that in line with this imperative, the focus on DB rankings will serve as an important signaling device to the international business community about government’s resolve of improving country’s investment climate.

A committee has already been constituted to develop a comprehensive plan for components of DB indicators and other investment climates which will further facilitate to create investment friendly environment. It was further revealed that under starting a business indicator, a Virtual One Stop Shop (VOSS) for new business registration has been developed and made operational.

The VOSS portal has integrated registration procedures for Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) pertaining to Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), the Federal Board of Revenue and the Employees Old Age Benefits Institution (EOBI), through an online portal.

It is expected that this will reduce the average time for registering a business by three days as well as result in the elimination of two procedures, which will improve Pakistan’s DB rankings under this indicator.

A Physical One Stop Shop (POSS) has been established at Lahore while work is underway to establish a similar POSS at Karachi. When contacted official sources said the government also made efforts to manage existing Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) in a more efficient manner and has started implementing a holistic PSEs Reform Strategy with main focus on improvement in corporate governance, restructuring and strategic partnership through privatization.

The sources said the government has embarked on strategic partnership/disinvestment of 31 PSEs representing the most viable transactions. The strategy involves disinvestment of a mix of PSEs in oil & gas, banking & finance, power, industrial, transport and real estate sectors.

They said the initiatives taken by the government are in right direction and will go a long way in boosting country’s socio-economic development.

The sources said Pakistan’s economy has maintained the recovery path, GDP growth accelerated to 4.24 percent in 2014-15 against the growth of 4.03 percent recorded last year.

The targeted growth rate 5.1 percent could not be achieved due to energy shortages, uncertainty created by protest of political parties which delayed planned activities, floods and heavy rains damaged agriculture, especially major crops like sugarcane, wheat and maize etc.