According to the World Bank’s ease of doing business index for 2016, Pakistan ranked 138 out of 189 countries in the world, shedding two points in its ranks just in one year. Pakistan was ranked 136 in 2015. The question is who is responsible for the lower ranking and what the hindrances in doing business in Pakistan are. The political as well as the military governments never tried to identify the elements behind economic backwardness of the country. The political governments are said to have limited powers in Pakistan and cannot take independent decisions, but the military governments are all powerful to decide anything, but even then no effort has ever been made to identify causes of economic woes of this nation. We are living in a world which is changing at a fast speed, but our leadership seems to be living in Stone Age. As the financial year is going to close on June 31, the present government has failed to achieve even the lowest targets which it had assigned to itself during the year.
As a matter of fact, the country needs a revolutionary programme to revitalize the economy and remove the structural bottlenecks which are hindering its growth and development. The country could not achieve the annual growth target and even some independent experts doubt the government’s claim that it has achieved 4.5 percent annual growth which is lower than its ambitious target of 5.7 percent. According to them, the actual growth is not more than 3.5 percent and the government is showing jugglery of figures. The government needs immediate steps to break the barriers of slow economic activities and unlock the country’s tremendous growth potentials. The economic environment in the country is submissive and scary for the potential investors. The small and medium level entrepreneurs are being dragged into courts on the allegations of tax evasions and a kind of terror prevails among the business community. It is unfortunate that tax evaders and black marketers successfully dodge the law and only the genuine taxpayers face courts and wrath of law in a corrupt society.
There are various positive indicators in the Pakistani economy as foreign remittances, sent by Pakistani expatriates have reached $20 billion, prices of oil have slashed in the international market and China Pakistan Economic Corridor can be a game changer in the region. The only what the government has to do is to rationalize tax rates, enhance tax net and provide facilities to potential investors. So far, Pakistan has the lowest investment rate –about 15.21 percent in the south Asian region where the average rate is 30 percent. Unless the government improves business conditions in the country, the dream of prosperity will never come true.