The Board of Investment (BOI) unveiled the Pakistan Regulatory Modernisation Initiative Strategy (PRMI), the Special Economic Zone Management System (SEZMIS), and the Investor Relationship Management System (IRMS) on Monday, according to a news release.
Dr. Ishrat Hussain, adviser for Institutional Reforms and Austerity, Fareena Mazhar, Secretary BOI, and stakeholders including the 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 attended the Islamabad launch ceremony.
Fareena Mazhar, Secretary BOI, explained the purpose of the launch of the PRMI strategy and the two online platforms, which aim to make the regulatory environment more business-friendly, to make it easier for local and foreign investors to register zone enterprises online, and to create a comprehensive database of existing and potential investors to promote investment activities. She noted that a gradual transition to a paperless environment will surely lower firms’ compliance burdens while also promoting the formal economy.
Additionally, Secretary BOI recognised stakeholders for their contributions to the effective implementation of the three projects and encouraged the commercial sector to take advantage of the online modules and continue collaborating with BOI on regulatory modernisation.
The BOI efforts have garnered widespread support and endorsement from the commercial sector. In their remarks, Abdul Aleem, Secretary General OICCI, and Ehsan Malik, CEO, PBC, expressed satisfaction with the government’s direction for accelerating private sector growth through digitization and regulatory reform. The speakers acknowledged that collaboration between the public and private sectors is critical to the success of the reform drive, which will benefit businesses significantly. They lauded BOI’s efforts and pledged their continuous support for Pakistan’s economic progress.
Representatives of donor agencies also voiced optimism about the projects’ positive influence on Pakistan’s economy.
“The IFC’s engagement with the Board of Investment is thorough. We have been collaborating with the BOI to develop and implement investment strategies while also modernising systems via redesigned websites and digital portals,” said Nadeem A. Siddiqui, IFC Senior Country Manager for Pakistan. “We have also partnered with the BOI to strengthen its regulatory reform capacity through the PRMI, which is part of the BOI’s broader strategy to boost productivity, exports, and economic growth.”
“Pakistan’s future is anchored in economic growth,” Christian Turner, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan, declared. “The UK, along with its partners, is extremely proud to be supporting regulatory efforts at the Federal and Provincial levels, as these efforts will lay the groundwork for Pakistan’s regulatory system in the future. I am a firm believer that Pakistan has enormous potential and that creating an enabling environment supported by good rules will result in an increase in job possibilities and foreign direct investment in the country.”
“PRMI will significantly contribute to long-term regulatory reforms and will automate compliance at the federal and provincial levels. It will contribute to the simplification and harmonisation of Pakistan’s regulatory environment, according to Najy Benhassine, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan. With the creation of the Pakistan Business Portal, the supply of regulatory services would be automated, further reducing the need for enterprises to visit several offices for regulatory compliance.”
Dr. Ishrat Hussain remarked in his concluding remarks that the launch of today’s efforts is an attempt to eradicate unneeded, redundant laws that impede corporate growth. PRMI’s design and strategies are driven by the business sector, and the institute expressed gratitude to all stakeholders for their participation. He emphasised that these efforts will culminate in the establishment of the Pakistan Business Portal, which will lower the cost of doing business and strengthen Pakistan’s competitiveness. Similarly, Pakistan Single Window will enable automated processing of international trade, which will help to greater governance.
Dr. Ishrat continued by stating that thanks to the automation of the FBR, firms are receiving refunds within 72 hours. In the last year, the FBR processed refunds totaling Rs.250 billion, the biggest in Pakistan’s history. The primary outcome of PRMI is improved coordination between the Federal, Provincial, and district levels, which was previously missing. He continued by praising the BOI team for developing a strategy with broad input from the business sector.
Mukarram Jah Ansari, Additional Secretary BOI, briefed the audience on the three launch projects. He noted that the PRMI plan was developed after significant collaboration with the corporate sector and regulatory agencies. Over a dozen reforms have been adopted thus far, and more than 15 are in the works. Additionally, he briefed the audience on SEZMIS and IRMS.
WBG Country Director Najy Benhassine launched the Pakistan Regulatory Modernisation Initiative (PRMI)
The British High Commissioner to Pakistan, Christian Turner, inaugurated the Special Economic Zone Management Information System (SEZMIS)
The Investor Relationship Management System was introduced by Charles Schneider, Senior Private Sector Specialist at the IFC (IRMS)
Dr. Ishrat Hussain gave diplomas to officers who attended the Investor Relationship Management System training session at the conclusion of the launch ceremony (IRMS).
Pakistan Regulatory Modernisation Initiative will modernise all regulatory requirements for firms at the national level, including registrations, licences, certifications, and other permits (RLCOs). This private sector-led reform effort will be used to ascertain the difficulties faced by business entities and to solicit opinions on regulatory compliance concerns. The processes for starting and operating a business will be simplified, and superfluous laws and regulations will be eliminated. This modernisation will alleviate compliance burdens and lower the cost of doing business, enhancing industrial competitiveness.
Enterprises and zone developers can submit applications electronically, which will be handled in a paperless environment, using the Special Economic Zone Management Information System (SEZMIS). Each zone’s data is accessible to all stakeholders via their respective dashboards, allowing for improved monitoring and regulation. The module represents a quantum leap into the digital future of industry driven by SEZs.
The Investor Relationship Management System (IRMS) tracks and generates investment through the interactions between Investment Officers and Investors. Additionally, it builds a database of firm connections, projects, and associated information for all investors. The primary goal is to collect data and provide a tracking mechanism for all existing and prospective investors. This will increase the effectiveness of investment promotion operations and allow for the rapid identification of project-related roadblocks.