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ISLAMABAD: Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment, Abdul Razak Dawood, chaired the 3rd meeting of Steering Committee on Pakistan Regulatory Modernization Initiative (PRMI) in Board of Investment, on Monday. Advisor to PM on Institutional Reforms Dr Ishrat Hussain, Chairman Board of Investment, Atif Riaz Bokhari, Secretary Commerce, provincial representatives and other stakeholders from public and private sector attended the meeting.

The agenda of the 3rd meeting of Steering Committee was to review the progress on the decisions taken in the last meeting, discuss the developments regarding Local Government Licensing Regime by Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa & ICT, and examine the steps undertaken by provinces on regulatory frameworks and get feedback from industry representatives on the regulatory impediments in different sectors. The strategy on way forward with action plan and measurable milestones was also discussed in the meeting.

In his opening remarks, Advisor to the PM, Razak Dawood said that PRMI is a larger scale reform exercise being undertaken by the Government in order to ensure ease of doing business in a more effective manner. He added that the reforms are focused around reduction of compliance burden of businesses on one hand while improving the effectiveness of regulatory regime on the other. He underlined that the reform efforts would make life easier for the business community and improves the oversight mechanisms of the government as well.

Talking about the progress on different decisions and targets, Razak Dawood appreciated the KP Government on recent steps to simplify the licensing regime of Local Government. He said that these activities would not only facilitate the SME sector but also help the growth of business activities in a more transparent and efficient manner. The Advisor encouraged all provinces and regions to adopt business friendly initiatives of each other and increase the pace of activities to achieve concrete results for the SME sector within the given timeframe.

Different stakeholders, including the industry representatives shared their suggestions on the regulatory environment. Dawood assured that the suggestions from industry will be duly considered in order to ensure a meaningful review of the regulatory regime and introduction of consequential reforms.

Advisor to PM on Institutional Reforms, Dr Ishrat Hussain, talked about the different approaches to undertake the intended reform drive of the Government. He said that a sector wise approach would come at a later stage, which would enable us to have a deeper understanding of impediments to our competitiveness. He added that the provinces and local governments need to proactively engage with businesses for meaningful changes in the administrative and regulatory frameworks in favour of businesses.

To reduce the compliance burden on businesses, especially those in the SME sector, the Prime Minister of Pakistan approved the launch of "Pakistan Regulatory Modernization Initiative (PRMI)", established a Steering Committee for implementing the PRMI activity and designated the Board of Investment (BOI) as the lead agency. Over its lifetime, the PRMI activity would be implemented in a number of stages, which include the mapping of existing Registrations/ Licenses/ Certificates/Other Permits (RLCOs), analysis for identifying unnecessary /redundant /cumbersome processes, elimination of non-essential RLCOs (also called Regulatory Guillotine), simplification /modernization of procedures relating to essential RLCOs and their automation through an online platform. Wrapping up the meeting Advisor directed BOI to ensure meetings of Steering Committee on regular basis in order to fast-track the progress on different activities.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020