Sindh govt embarks on reforms to attract investment, says Murad
KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Tuesday said that his government has embarked on a comprehensive plan to introduce reforms in every sector to make Sindh a seat of prosperity and a hub of investment for better returns.
This he said while holding a luncheon meeting with World Bank team led by its Country Director Pachamuthu Illangovan at the CM House in Karachi. The World Bank country chief gave a presentation on Sindh Growth Strategy with the objectives to improve investment climate, improve rural service delivery, improve connectivity to markets and to strengthen government credibility.
Talking about ‘Improve Investment Climate,’ Illangovan said that it could be achieved through reforms, regulations and launching e-government system. He also suggested stimulation urban land markets through better regional planning and land regulations.
The WB country director suggested improvement in rural service delivery through Public Private Partnership (PPP). “You (the government) would have to strengthen government capacity for service delivery oversight and to reduce gaps in health and education outcomes for women,” he said. Talking about improved connectivity to markets, he said that there was a need of connecting villages to cities, particularly the port cities. He added that strengthening of government credibility could be developed by starting dialogue with private sector, improving budgeting & budget tracking system and receiving online citizen feedback.
In the meeting, the chief minister discussed ‘programme for results (PR)’ with proposed interventions and expected results with the World Bank team. The interventions Syed Murad Ali Shah discussed, include automation of all business licenses, strengthening contract enforcement process, leverage to private sector to upgrade, develop and manage well-serviced industrial estates and zones, establishment of combined effluent treatment plant on PPP mode and reinforcement of Sindh Board of Investment for targeted and strategic investment promotion.
It was pointed out that the with implementation of the under-discussion interventions, the government approval time would be reduced with reduced compliance cost. There would be lower risk of doing business, it would achieve export competitiveness and access to European markets. Easier access to serviced industrial land and lower industrial pollution would lead to the increased local and foreign investment.
It was also agreed in the meeting that there was a need of digital and transport connectivity. Therefore, it was decided to develop and implement a comprehensive roadmap for provincial e-governance system for efficient service delivery. It was also discussed to explore the avenues to develop and implement a strategic framework/fund for transport connectivity through PPP mode.
The meeting discussed problems in five projects of the World Bank going on in Sindh. They are Sindh Public Sector Management Reform; Sindh Agriculture Growth Project, Sindh Barrage Improvement Project; Sindh Skills Development Project and Second Sindh Education project. The meeting decided to hold strategic discussion on the key issues identified in the five projects for which Chairman P&D Mohammad Waseem would lead the Sindh team.
Chairman P&D board Mohammad Waseem briefing the reforms made so far said that for `Ease of Doing Business (DB)’ a cell has been set up at board of Investment to mobilise authorities relating to DB indicators such as business registration; dealing with construction permits, registering property; enforcing contracts.
The project would be made completely function from next financial year. Chairperson BoI also brifed the meeting on DB cell.Secretary Education Aziz Uqaili briefed the meeting on some of the achievements made in the education sector. He said that with the use of technology the teachers have been returned to class rooms, enrolment has been improved slightly, teachers training programmes for their capacity building have been launched.
Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that under reforms programme, Sindh Business Registration Portal would be launched by end of December 2017. It includes procurement of hardware and software; hiring of the staff to manage the portal.
He added that one-window facility (OWF) for construction of permits at Sindh Building Authority would also be started for which a firm would be hired to design the OWF and related hard and soft wares. On BRT systems, a detailed discussion was made in the meeting. Transport and Information Minister Syed Nasir Shah briefed them about orange line and Blue Line projects.
The world Bank showed interest in Blue Line to finance it and extent full technical support. The World bank experts were not favour of elevated routes of the BRT.
The chief minister was assited by provincial ministers, Sohail Anwar Siyal, Jam Mehtab Dahar, Syed Nasir Shah, Special Assistant Shahid Thahim, Chairman P&D Mohammad Waseem, provincial secretaries, chairmen of Board of Investment and Sindh Board of revenue and other concerned officers.