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ISLAMABAD: Several countries including Pakistan reduced time it takes to deal with construction permits aimed at streamlining business regulations, says the International monetary Fund (IMF).

The Fund in its report, “Economic Governance Reforms to Support Inclusive Growth in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia”, stated that enhancing accountability and integrity of institutions and civil servants may begin with establishing a professional and competitive public service as in Georgia.

One idea is to limit individual discretion in decision-making, including through digitalization and e-services adoption.

Incentives can also be adapted, for example, Pakistan introduced performance pay for tax collectors to improve accuracy of tax assessments, it added.

It further stated that in the past decade, countries in the region have taken steps to streamline business regulations.

Egypt has reduced regulations and tax exemptions and streamlined the process for starting a business.

Georgia used the so-called Zero Plus model to reform its public sector, abolishing all previous licenses and permits before designing and adopting new ones.

Several countries reduced time it takes to deal with construction permits (Bahrain, Kuwait, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates); to obtain a new electricity connection (Bahrain, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia); and to register property (Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Tunisia). Several countries introduced improved electronic submission and processing of documents for exports (Armenia, Kuwait, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates) and imports (Kuwait, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan).

The report further stated that countries have improved transparency by increasing public access to information concerning construction permits regulation (Georgia); publishing electricity tariffs (Egypt, Pakistan); and increasing transparency of information on property registration (Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Pakistan, Qatar, Tunisia).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021