The World Bank - Doing Business Report Pakistan, 2017

​​Pakistan’s performance in the Doing Business 2017 is encouraging, as a beginning of a reform process that needs to be sustained in the coming years to make long-term improvements. The country is recognized as one in the list of ten economies making the biggest improvements in their business regulations - the only from South Asian - having improved its position from 148 (DB2016) of 189 to 144 (DB2017) out of 190 countries under the new methodology. On the Distance to Frontier metric, Pakistan’s score went up from 49.48 (DB2016) to 51.77 (DB2017), using a comparable methodology thanks to reforms in three areas: ​

  • Pakistan was the sole economy in South Asia to reform property transfers. Starting in 2007. The Punjab province of Pakistan launched the Land Records Management and Information Program to strengthen the capacity of land administration institutions in Lahore. During a five-year period, the project deployed an automated land records system and improved the quality of services provided by the land agency.
  • Pakistan improved access to credit information guaranteeing by law borrowers’ rights to inspect their own data. The credit bureau also expanded its borrower coverage. This reform applies to both Lahore and Karachi.
  • Pakistan made trading across borders easier by enhancing its electronic customs platform. This reform applies to both Lahore and Karachi.

Seven out ten indicators​ for Pakistan were subject to major data correction, significantly affecting DTF for each of them, as well as the last year’s rankings.

Although there is some good news this year, Pakistan’s performance across the Doing Business indicators varies greatly - from 27 on Protecting Minority investors to 172 on Trading across borders. 

For the first time, the report includes a gender dimension in three sets of indicators: Starting a Business, Registering Property and Enforcing Contracts. The report finds that women entrepreneurs face additional legal barriers to entrepreneurship in Pakistan over male entrepreneurs due to unequal treatment of men and women testimonies in court.

The Paying Taxes indicator set has been expanded to cover post-filing processes, such as tax audits and VAT refund. The report finds that the time it takes to comply with a corporate income tax audit in Pakistan is considerably low, taking 28.5 hours compared to the regional average of 48 hours.

The report includes an annex with a pilot indicator set on public procurement regulations. The ‘selling to the government’ procurement process is studied in 78 economies and is not included in the overall rankings. The indicator set analyses five main areas: accessibility and transparency, bid security, payment delays, incentives for small and medium-size enterprises and complaint mechanisms.

Data for Pakistan is available online: BENCHMARKING PPP PROCUREMENT 2017 IN PAKISTAN

In the regional context Pakistan ranks 6 out of 8 South Asian economies, as last year. A total of 11 reforms, making it easier to do business, were implemented by five of eight economies in South Asia in the past year. This is significantly higher than the region’s annual average of nine reforms over the past five years.