Pakistan made the top 10 list of governments that have done the most in the past year to improve the ease of doing business in their countries, the World Bank said on Wednesday.
Pakistan’s improved ranking stems from its improvement in six areas, according to the World Bank. It said these moves reflected the country’s “development of an ambitious reform strategy including the establishment of national secretariat and Prime Minister’s reform steering committee.”
The first area in which Pakistan improved was starting a new business, which the World Bank said was achieved by “expanding procedures available through the online one-stop shop.” The second and third, dealing with construction permits and registration of property, were made easier by “improvements in property registration, [with] obtaining a construction permit made 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 fourth, getting access to electricity, was improved through the introduction of “online portals for new commercial connections” that also announced tariff changes in advance. The fifth was tax compliance, which the World Bank said was made easier through “online payment modules for value added tax and corporate income tax, and a lower corporate income tax rate.”
Finally, the sixth area in which Pakistan improved was trading across borders. The World Bank said this was done by “enhancing the integration of various agencies into an electronic system and by improving coordination of joint physical inspections at the port.”
In addition, Pakistan improved its standing in the global fund’s annual Ease of Doing Business 2020 report, going from 136 to 108.
The other nine economies where business climates improved the most were Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Togo, Bahrain, Tajikistan, India, Kuwait, China, and Nigeria, the study found.
Despite a bitter trade war, in which the United States is demanding reforms from Beijing to protect intellectual property and open its economy further to American businesses, China made the top 10 list for the second year in a row. With those improvements, China leapfrogged France to take the 31st spot in the “ease of doing business” ranking, moving up 15 places, according to the World Bank report. And despite U.S. complaints, the report credited China with improving protections for minority investors, strengthening procedures for enforcing contracts and making trade easier with changes to customs administration and port infrastructure.
“Removing barriers facing entrepreneurs generates better jobs, more tax revenues and higher incomes, all of which are necessary to reduce poverty and raise living standards,” World Bank Group President David Malpass said in a statement.
India landed on the most-improved list for the third year in a row, making it easier to start a business by abolishing filing fees, lowering the time and cost of seeking construction permits and making trade easier with port improvements and an improved electronic platform for submitting documents. The country jumped 14 places to number 63 in the global rankings.
New Zealand continues to top the global rankings, with Singapore, Hong Kong right behind, with Korea in fifth place, and the United States sixth.
The World Bank studies reforms in 10 areas of business activity in 190 economies, including issues like construction permits, getting electricity and paying taxes.