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ISLAMABAD: Despite the outbreak of the coronavirus, Pakistan has witnessed 24 percent corporate growth during 2020, as the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has registered 20,324 new companies in 2020 against 16,456 companies during 2019.

The SECP officials told Business Recorder that the simplification of registration process was one of the key factors that stimulated growth in registration of companies.

The SECP had reduced the number of procedures for business start-up, reduction in overall turnaround time for regulatory approvals, and introduced cost-cutting measures of starting a business, especially for small and medium enterprises.

Officials said that during Covid-19 and lockdown periods, organisations have speedily enabled online facilities to maintain the workflows, and it has resulted in an increased trend of using online services.

It is therefore, 98.66 percent companies registered online in 2020.

However, the adverse impact of Covid-19 was quite evident in registration of foreign companies.

In 2020, only 24 foreign companies got registration, whereas, the number was 38 in 2019.

The foreign companies that came in Pakistan in 2020 belong from the US, the UK, France, Germany, China, Japan, Australia, Middle East and the Far Eastern countries.

The SECP data reflects that the government’s relief package of Rs30 billion for the construction sector also had a positive impact, as there were 32 percent growth in registration of new companies in the construction sector.

The SECP registered a total 3,383 new companies in construction/real estate sector.

The Covid-19 badly affected the tourism sector.

The SECP has registered 677 companies in tourism sector as compared to 1,027 in 2019, registering a negative growth.

Pakistan has consistently been making efforts to improve business environment in the country.

Since PTI-led government came into power, Pakistan has improved 39 positions in the World Bank’s EODB ranking and stands at 108 position in 2020.

The WB Doing Business report 2020 recognised Pakistan as a top performer in South Asia.

Since the release of the WB’s last year’s report, the SECP has introduced a number of reforms to further simplify the procedures of company incorporation.

A company can now be registered in one day with the SECP and the FBR.

The data is transferred to the Labour Department, PESSI, SESSI, and the EOBI in real time.

End-to-end integration of nine departments with the SECP’s portal has been completed.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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