ISLAMABAD    -   The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has undertaken some vital reforms to shorten the time involved in starting a business, measures for protecting minority investors and resolving insolvency. These were pulling factors in improving country’s overall ease of doing business ranking. Out of total 10 areas covered in the WB report, the success of reforms drive by the SECP for ease of doing business is reflected in three indicators, i.e. starting a business, protecting minority investors and resolving insolvency, where Pakistan ranked 72, 28 and 58 respectively. 

In World Bank’s latest rankings on ease of doing business for 2020, Pakistan has improved its position by 28 points from 136 to 108. The improvement is an unprecedented in the history of Pakistan. With reforms acknowledged in 6 areas i.e. starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, paying taxes and trading across borders, Pakistan is ranked a number one reformer in South Asia and scored 6th position among top ten reformers globally. The Doing Business Report is a publication of the World Bank Group that benchmarks business regulation in 190 countries.

Out of six reform areas acknowledged in 2020 report, the biggest jump of 58 points were recorded in Starting a Business position from 130 to 72. Expansion of online one-stop-shop facility through SECP’s eServices to different federal and provincial agencies has reduced number of procedures required to set up a business from 10 to 5. Now an entrepreneur can get registration with 6 agencies i.e. SECP, NTN from FBR and registration with EOBI, PESSI/SESSI and labor department and excise and taxation department of Punjab and Sindh by submitting a single online application through SECP eServices. The SECP Commissioner for Corporatization and Compliance Department, Shaukat Hussain said that SECP remains committed to pursue SECP’s agenda for ease of doing business.  He further said that finalization of subordinate legislation under corporate rehabilitation and corporate restructuring laws, operationalization of secured transaction registry and extension of one-stop-shop facility to KP and Baluchistan is among top priority areas for the next year.

Last year, due to reforms introduced by the SECP, Pakistan improved its position significantly in two areas i.e.  Starting a Business (142 to 130) and Resolving Insolvency (from 82 to 53).  SECP’s efforts for ease of doing business have also been recognized in World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2019.  While overall ranking on Global Competitiveness Index dropped slightly, indicators relating to SECP show significant improvement.  In “Business Dynamics” Pakistan improved by 15 points due to reduction in cost and time to start business and improvement in Insolvency regulatory framework.