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ISLAMABAD: For fostering an enabling business climate with automation and reduced compliance burden, the Board of Investment (BoI) launched Pakistan Regulatory Modernization Initiative Strategy (PRMI), Special Economic Zone Management System (SEZMIS) and Investor Relationship Management System (IRMS) on Monday.

The launch ceremony held at Islamabad was attended by Advisor for Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr Ishrat Hussain, BOI Secretary Fareena Mazhar, and stakeholders including World Bank Group, International Finance Corporation (IFC), UK Aid, Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI), Pakistan Business Council (PBC), and senior federal and provincial government officials.

In her opening statement, Secretary Mazhar explained the objective of PRMI strategy launch and the two online platforms, which aim to make the regulatory environment business friendly, provide local and foreign investors the ease of online registration for zone enterprises and a comprehensive database of existing and potential investors that will promote investment activities.

She stated that gradual transition to a paperless environment will undoubtedly reduce the compliance burden for businesses and promote formal economy as well.

The BOI secretary also acknowledged the role of stakeholders for their support in successful execution of three initiatives and encouraged private sector to benefit from the online modules and to continue partnering with BOI for regulatory modernisation. The BOI initiatives were welcomed and endorsed by the private sector.

Abdul Aleem, secretary general OICCI and Ehsan Malik, CEO, PBC in their remarks expressed satisfaction with the government's direction for acceleration of private sector growth through digitization and reformation of the regulatory landscape.

The representatives acknowledged that the joint efforts of the public and private sector ensure the success of the reform drive that stands to greatly benefit the businesses.

They congratulated BOI for its efforts and assured of their continued cooperation for Pakistan's economic growth.

Representatives of the donor agencies also expressed confidence in the favorable impact the initiatives will have on Pakistan's economy.

"IFC's engagement with Board of Investment is comprehensive. We have been working with BOI to design and implement investment strategies while modernizing systems through revamped websites and digital portals," said Nadeem A Siddiqui, IFC Senior Country Manager for Pakistan.

"We have also partnered with BOI to strengthen its capacity in regulatory reforms through the PRMI, which is part of BOI's broader strategy to improve productivity, increase exports, and boost economic growth."

"Future of Pakistan anchors around its economic growth" stated Christian Turner, British High Commissioner to Pakistan.

"UK with its partners is very proud to be supporting the regulatory efforts at federal and provincial level as these will lay the foundation for regulatory system of tomorrow's Pakistan. I have firm belief that Pakistan has immense potential and having an enabling environment supported by effective regulations will increase job opportunities and FDI in the country."

"PRMI will greatly contribute to sustainable regulatory reforms and integrate compliance across federal and provincial levels through automation. It will help simplify and harmonize the regulatory regime across Pakistan," says Najy Benhassine, WB Country Director for Pakistan.

The automation of regulatory service delivery with the development of Pakistan Business Portal will further reduce the need for businesses to visit multiple offices for regulatory compliance.

In his concluding remarks, Dr Ishrat Hussain stated that launch of today's initiatives is an attempt to eliminate superfluous, redundant regulations that are hindering progress of businesses.

The design and strategy of PRMI is driven by the private sector and thanked all stakeholders for their cooperation. He highlighted that these efforts will culminate in Pakistan Business Portal, which will reduce cost of doing business and make Pakistan competitive.

Similarly, for international trade, the Pakistan Single Window will allow automated processing which will contribute to improved governance.

Dr Ishrat further shared that due to automation of the FBR refunds to the businesses are being provided within 72 hours.

The FBR in the last one year processed refunds worth Rs250 billion which is highest in the history of Pakistan.

The key outcome of PRMI is effective coordination among federal, provincial and district level that was lacking in the past.

He concluded by congratulating the BOI team for chalking out a strategy in extensive consultation with the private sector. Additional Secretary BOI Mukarram Jah Ansari apprised the audience about the three launch initiatives. He stated that the PRMI strategy is the outcome of extensive consultation with private sector and regulators.

Christian Turner, British High Commissioner to Pakistan, launched Special Economic Zone Management Information System (SEZMIS).

Charles Schneider, Senior Private Sector Specialist, IFC, launched Investor Relationship Management System (IRMS).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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