The prime minister’s office has directed federal ministries and their attached departments to devise investor-friendly policies and to provide a conducive environment to investors, in a bid to attract foreign investment in the country.
In a letter written by Special Secretary to the Prime Minister Fawad Hasan Fawad, the prime minister observed with concern that a critical impediment to the enterprise, particularly to new domestic and foreign investment, while the procedure to seek business licences was complex and non-transparent.
“This is also a basic reason for why Pakistan ranks as low as 144th in 190 countries in the World Bank’s ease of doing business index. Even more serious is the dampening effect that the difficulty of doing business has on the overall growth and economic development of the country,” the letter reads.
However, sources said that the letter was written after some expatriates had recently expressed concerns over investment in the country after the lease of the One Constitution Avenue in Islamabad was cancelled by the Capital Development Authority, and upheld by the Islamabad High Court, for violation of building bylaws.
The letter reads that in order to facilitate setting up of and running businesses in Pakistan, the prime minister had directed that each federal ministry along with its attached and autonomous organisations to “prepare a comprehensive code of procedure to be followed by applicants for each licence, sanction or permission the grant of which fall in their functional domain.”
The PM Office also directed federal ministries and their attached and autonomous organisations to identify all such processes and transactions which were initiated by submitting an application, and culminate in the issuance or denial of a certificate, approval letter, licence, permit or any other similar instrument.
Moreover, the PM office directed to list all the steps involved in the process in a flowchart, along with the time that the concerned ministry or organisation takes for each step and the documents and fees which the applicant must supply.
Published in The Express Tribune, 2017.