World Bank asks government to launch mass media campaign
The World Bank has strongly suggested to the government to design a mass media campaign to promote online registration of new entrepreneurs and investors with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Employees Old-age Benefits Institution (EOBI) under virtual One-Stop Shop (OSS).
Sources told Business Recorder here on Wednesday that a WB mission visited the country in August-September 2014 for preliminary discussions on a possible second Development Policy Credit (DPC-II) operation to support the government’s programme of fiscal sustainable and inclusive growth enhancing reforms.
The SECP, FBR and EOBI had signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish virtual OSS to facilitate entrepreneurs and investors to get online registrations of SECP/FBR/EOBI. The Virtual OSS shall be a web-portal to provide a single interface for investors intending to get their company registered with the SECP, followed by NTN/tax registration with the FBR, and employers’ registration with EOBI without physically visiting the offices of the said authorities.
According to the aide memoire of the WB, the SECP, FBR and EOBI have established a virtual One-Stop-Shop (OSS) for business registration and a physical OSS in one province, and developed a plan for introduction of the concept of limited liability partnerships (LLPs). The FBR, EOBI and SECP are in the final stages of establishing the virtual OSS for limited liability companies. The virtual OSS platform is being developed by Pakistan Revenue Automation Limited (PRAL). Development is expected to be completed after which testing and training will be conducted in October 2014 and the platform will be launched for use by entrepreneurs most likely in November. All three entities, with support of Economic Reforms Unit, MoF are finalising a MOU with Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry to establish the first physical OSS, most likely in November 2014.
The SECP has finalised the draft action plan to introduce the concept of LLPs in Pakistan with public consultations. Plan should be approved on or after October, 2014. The WB, while highlighting the key challenges going forward, said that the present status of the development of the virtual OSS platform is completed about 75 percent. The delay is mainly due to the difficulty in interfacing with the SECP as the technical resources of PRAL (FBR’s Software Development Wing) have to learn-and- develop the interfaces with the SECP system. However, the timelines given by the PRAL team are achievable provided that regular update and issue resolution meetings are held fortnightly to review adherence to the project plan.
The mission strongly suggest the design of a massive media campaign to promote registration in the OSS among the public and the urgent definition of the set of key performance indicators to measure its progression in terms of new business registered, time and cost of new procedures with respect to its actual baseline. The Bank team strongly suggested keeping all the chairmen of the organisations fully aware of ongoing progress, while obtaining from them swift and timely decisions on certain key aspects of the OSS (like how to simplify existing information requirements that are less relevant).
The current version of VOSS would provide a more effective registration service to new LLCs. And all other type of interactions than those of registration (exchange of information, re-submission of documents, etc) with a partner organisation will still have to he carried out via their own online portals. Both limitations will require further OSS development and a long-term sustainability plan, the WB added.