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ISLAMABAD: Under the Pakistan Regulatory Modernisation Initiative (PRMI), the Board of Investment (BoI) on Monday facilitated the signing of memorandums of understanding (MoUs) for consolidating and integrating sector-level business registrations into an e-services portal of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, supports these registrations as part of its advisory, PRMI, which the BoI leads.

Separate MoUs were signed between the SECP, the Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC), the Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB), and the Special Technology Zones Authority (STZA) at a local hotel.

The business registration integration aims to unify the registration processes at the SECP’s e-services portal, earlier done in silos and with semi-automated systems. However, businesses can now avail a one-window registration with all these departments and online registration fee payment. It would curtail processing time, ensure information integrity, eliminate redundant processes, and promote information-sharing among government departments to avoid repetitive due diligence procedures.

Muhammad Jahanzeb Khan, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Government Effectiveness, applauded the BOI’s efforts, appreciated the synergies for integration of business registrations among the federal departments, and encouraged all stakeholders, especially SECP, to streamline and integrate the business registrations with all the government departments.

Khan pointed out that over-regulation is hurting the business community, for which regulatory reform is the need of the hour. Globally, the economies have benefited from the regulatory reforms, which have directly impacted the socio-economic development in these economies, he said.

Asad Rehman Gillani, secretary Board of Investment, stressed the need to ensure a conducive environment for businesses to thrive. He told the forum that PRMI is a second-generation reforms initiative designed to build on the progress achieved under the Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) programme.

Gillani said it is the first time in Pakistan’s history that a concerted approach is being undertaken to eliminate, critically analyse, simplify, reengineer, improve and eventually digitalise business registrations, licenses, certificates, other permits, and regulatory requirements.

PRMI envisions establishing Pakistan Business Portal, a one-stop shop (OSS) for all business-related interactions with government departments and regulators.

Zeeshan Sheikh, the country manager for Pakistan and Afghanistan at IFC, said that, IFC has been a longstanding partner of the government on business enabling reforms at the federal and provincial levels - we remain committed to supporting the authorities in this work, and today’s announcements regarding unification of business registrations at SECP; e-services portal for key sectors including IT and renewable energy, will be an important step in improving the process of registering new businesses, making it more transparent and streamlined.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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