ISLAMABAD   -   Pakistan has listed among the World Bank’s list of ‘Top-20 improvers in Doing Business 2020 as it improved in six areas.

According to the World Bank, Pakistan improved in six areas measured by Doing Business—starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, paying taxes and trading across borders—reflecting the country’s development of an ambitious reform strategy including the establishment of national secretariat and Prime Minister’s reform steering committee.

Pakistan made starting a business easier by expanding procedures available through the online one-stop shop. In addition to improvements in property registration, obtaining a construction permit became easier after the Sindh Building and Control Authority and the Lahore Development Authority streamlined approval workflows and improved the operational efficiency of their one-stop shops.

The launching of online portals for new commercial connections made getting electricity easier, and tariff changes are announced in advance.

Moreover, tax compliance became easier through online payment modules for value added tax and corporate income tax, and a lower corporate income tax rate. Pakistan made trading across borders easier by enhancing the integration of various agencies into an electronic system and by improving coordination of joint physical inspections at the port

The World Bank’s Doing Business project “provides objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement across 190 economies and selected cities at the subnational and regional level”.

“With 6 reforms, Pakistan emerges among top 20 reformers globally in Ease of Doing Business,” World Bank Country Director for Pakistan Patchamuthu Ilango wrote on Twitter.

“Rankings will be released on Oct 24. We laud the COLLECTIVE action of Federal, #Sindh & #Punjab Govts for an impressive feat,”

Pakistan is expecting a big push in its ranking on the upcoming World Bank’s ease of doing business index following almost a yearlong reforms as a bank’s team is about to visit the country next week to evaluate its performance.

Pakistan’s ranking improved to 136th in the World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking in October last year from 147th.

The government had targeted 100th position. According to the officials, a company can now be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) through online registration process within an average four hours. Earlier, the registration process was taking 10 to 15 days.

Earlier, businesses and investors had to pay around 47 different taxes and levies, which have been cut to 16 till December 2018. It would further be reduced to 10 payments and to single, the officials added.