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Pakistan's ranking on the 'Global Competitiveness Report 2019' dropped to 110th during the tenure of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government from 107th recorded during Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz tenure. The World Economic Forum (WEF) released the Global Competitiveness Report 2019 on Wednesday. On the competitiveness, Pakistan has been ranked at 110th among 141 economies, slipping three positions below from last year's 107th.

In South Asia region, Pakistan's ranking is on number fifth. India is at 68th position, followed by Sri Lanka (the most improved country in the region at 84th), Bangladesh (105th), Nepal (108th) and Pakistan (110th). Amir Jahangir, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mishal Pakistan, a country partner institute of WEF, briefed the media persons on the index in the report.

One of the reasons behind Pakistan's ranking decline, Amir Jahangir said, is that government departments were not providing relevant information to international agencies in time and departments designated like Finance Division and Foreign Office were not giving due attention on improvement of 12-index in competitiveness report.

In competitiveness scores index, the report covers enabling environment, innovation eco-system, markets and human capital. Pakistan has been ranked 107th in institutions as compared to 109th last year. It is ranked 105th in infrastructure against 93rd in 2018. The ICT adoption has slipped to 131st from 127th from a year earlier. With a loss of 13 ranks, the macroeconomic stability, which stands at 116th, has greatly impacted the country's competitiveness rankings, while the health pillar, which is at 115th in 2019, slipped from 109th from last year. The skills pillar has retained its position as of last year and is at 125th.

Pakistan has also lost 4 ranks on the Product Market Pillar with global ranking on 126th. Pakistan improved its labor market efficiency with one point by securing 120th position among 141 economies. The Financial Systems Pillar lost 10 ranks and rests at 99th this year compared to 89th last year. The country improved its competitiveness advantage by securing an impressive 29th position compared to 31st in 2018. Pakistan showed its best performance on the business dynamism by improving 15 points and securing 52nd position among 141 economies. This gain was due to Pakistan's improvements on time to start a business where it improves several ranks. The country scored 79th position on the innovation capability pillar compared to 75th in 2018.

Under macroeconomic index, inflation has shown a negative change and debt dynamics went down to 134th from 124th.

Regarding the sources of data collection, he said that they had collected data from executives of small and large companies which had 30 percent weightage and rest of 70 percent was taken from international organizations like World Bank, IMF, Word Trade Organization (WTO), UNCOC, IATA, ITC and others.

"Out of total 103 individual indicators, 64 retained the position and 39 indicators have shown deteriorating positions," the report stated.

Global ranking of 15 national institutions on improving competitiveness showed that only three have shown improvement.

There are improvement in index of intellectual property organization, judicial independence and National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA); however, police services, Accountant General Pakistan Revenue (AGPR), National Highway Authority (NHA), Railways, NAVTEC, Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP), Customs, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and press freedom showed no improvement.

"What is of the greatest concern today is the reduced ability of governments and central banks to use monetary policy to stimulate economic growth. This makes it all the more important that competitiveness-enhancing policies are adopted that are able to boost productivity, encourage social mobility and reduce income inequality," said Saadia Zahidi, Head of the Centre for the New Economy and Society at the World Economic Forum.

The Global Competitiveness Report 2019 highlights the fragile economic foundations of several least developed and emerging economies, making them highly vulnerable to shocks. With extreme poverty reduction decelerating and nearly half of humanity still struggling to meet basic needs, the report is a reminder of the need for sustained productivity-enhancing economic growth to improve living standards.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019


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