Sindh looks at reforms to climb Ease of Doing Business Index

KARACHI: Sindh Board of Investment (SBI) Chairperson Naheed Memon has said that the provincial government plans to automate business registration via a portal that will link all databases and authorities, a move that comes as Pakistan looks to ease regulations and reduce time in setting up a company.

This portal will integrate all departmental procedures online so that entrepreneurs can get required provincial registrations from a single place in real time, she said during a press briefing at a local hotel on Monday.

The facility will be launched in a pilot form in key government departments and will also be placed in the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) office.

“Sindh government remains committed to making Sindh an easy and the most competitive investment hub in Pakistan,” the SBI chairperson said. The briefing was hosted by the SBI in collaboration with the World Bank Group on the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ reform programme being executed in Sindh.

Relevant provincial agencies are reforming regulations related to construction permits. These reforms include de-notification of environmental approval for low-impact projects, simplification of procedures and reduction in timeline for a water connection at Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) and reduction in number of procedures at the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) for obtaining a building permit.

Some reforms have already been implemented such as the Land Administration & Revenue Management Information System (LARMIS). The government claims that the time for execution and registration of a property deed is now less than 100 days.

The KWSB has also reduced the prerequisites for a new water connection application. Their checklist for a new connection now requires four items only instead of eight. Moreover, the time taken for a new connection will be reduced to 21 days. Currently, this procedure takes 61 days.

The plan outlines reforms related to the following provincial indicators: Starting a business, construction permits, registering property, enforcing contracts and paying taxes.

“We are supporting reforms in Pakistan to benefit individuals and companies doing business in the country,” a press release quoted Senior Economist of the World Bank Group in Pakistan as saying. 

Published in The Express Tribune, January 23rd, 2018.

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