KARACHI: The Sindh Board of Investment in collaboration with the World Bank Group hosted a press briefing on Ease of Doing Business reform programme being executed in Sindh. The briefing informed participants about government of Sindh’s strategy to reform business regulations in the province.

The briefing started with Chairperson, SBI Naheed Memon explaining why improving the investment climate is a national emergency. She said that as a province and as a country we should strive to be the best place for doing business. Sindh also plans to automate business registration via a portal which will link all provincial and central databases and authorities for starting a business the portal will integrate all departmental procedures online so that entrepreneurs can get required provincial registrations from a single place in real time. This 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 Office.

The relevant provincial agencies are reforming regulations related to Construction Permits. These reforms include a) De-Notification of Environmental Approval for low- impact projects, b)Simplification of procedures & reduction in timeline for water connection at KWSB and c) reduction in number of procedures at SBCA for obtaining a building permit.

Some reforms have already been implemented such as Land Administration & Revenue Management Information System (LARMIS) at Board of revenue. The Sindh LARMIS was first the system in the country to automate the process of property registration. The automation of property registration has begun as all current registrations are scanned, indexed and made available online for online title search through Digital Scanning Unit. The time for Execution and registration of deed is now less than 100 days. This procedure took more than 200 days previously.

The Karachi Water & Sewerage Board (KWSB) has also reduced the prerequisites for a new water connection application. Their checklist for a new connection now requires four (4) items only instead of eight (8) items previously. Moreover, the time taken for new connection will be reduced to 21 days. This procedure took 61 days previously. The Chairperson, Sindh Board of Investment is the focal person for Doing Business Reforms in Sindh. The Government of Sindh has formed Sindh Investment Climate Improvement Cell (SICIC) – a decided unit for execution of the reform agenda. The reform plan is a part of the larger plan to introduce Doing Business reforms at the federal and provincial level. The plan outlines reforms related to the following provincial indicators: Starting a Business, Construction Permits, Registering Property, Enforcing Contracts and Paying Taxes.

“The Government of Sindh remains committed to making Sindh into an easy and most competitive investment hub in Pakistan,” said Chairperson SBI. The EODB Index- produced annually by the World Bank Group (WBC) – measures the quality and efficiency of business regulation and its enforcement in selected cities across 190 economies including Karachi and Lahore in Pakistan. The index measures regulations against ten (10) indicators. “We are supporting reforms in Pakistan to benefit individuals and companies doing business in the country” , said the Senior Economist of the World Bank Group in Pakistan.