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Global Go To Think Tank Index (GGTTI) 2020 launched                    111,75 Think Tanks across the world ranked in different categories.                SDPI is ranked 90th among “Top Think Tanks Worldwide (non-US)”.           SDPI stands 11th among Top Think Tanks in South & South East Asia & the Pacific (excluding India).            SDPI notches 33rd position in “Best New Idea or Paradigm Developed by A Think Tank” category.                SDPI remains 42nd in “Best Quality Assurance and Integrity Policies and Procedure” category.              SDPI stands 49th in “Think Tank to Watch in 2020”.            SDPI gets 52nd position among “Best Independent Think Tanks”.                           SDPI becomes 63rd in “Best Advocacy Campaign” category.                   SDPI secures 60th position in “Best Institutional Collaboration Involving Two or More Think Tanks” category.                       SDPI obtains 64th position in “Best Use of Media (Print & Electronic)” category.               SDPI gains 66th position in “Top Environment Policy Tink Tanks” category.                SDPI achieves 76th position in “Think Tanks With Best External Relations/Public Engagement Program” category.                    SDPI notches 99th position in “Top Social Policy Think Tanks”.            SDPI wins 140th position among “Top Domestic Economic Policy Think Tanks”.               SDPI is placed among special non-ranked category of Think Tanks – “Best Policy and Institutional Response to COVID-19”.                                            Owing to COVID-19 outbreak, SDPI staff is working from home from 9am to 5pm five days a week. All our staff members are available on phone, email and/or any other digital/electronic modes of communication during our usual official hours. You can also find all our work related to COVID-19 in orange entries in our publications section below.    The Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) is pleased to announce its Twenty-third Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) from 14 – 17 December 2020 in Islamabad, Pakistan. The overarching theme of this year’s Conference is Sustainable Development in the Times of COVID-19. Read more…       FOOD SECIRITY DASHBOARD: On 4th Nov, SDPI has shared the first prototype of Food Security Dashboard with Dr Moeed Yousaf, the Special Assistant to Prime Minister on  National Security and Economic Outreach in the presence of stakeholders, including Ministry of National Food Security and Research. Provincial and district authorities attended the event in person or through zoom. The dashboard will help the government monitor and regulate the supply chain of essential food commodities.

Recorder Report

Business Recorder

Published Date: Dec 7, 2019

Ease of doing business

During the inaugural session of the 22nd Sustainable Development Conference co-hosted by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute and the World Bank, Dr Ishrat Husain, Advisor to the Prime Minister for Institutional Reforms and Austerity, stated that the key factor in the World Bank ranking on ease of doing business is not only the prevailing regulations but how an administration administers those regulations. As proof he pointed out that in 2007 Pakistan was ranked at 74th place in ease of doing business, with almost identical regulations as in later years when the country’s ranking plummeted to 136th position; the improvement to 108 position last year reflects an improvement in the quality and attitude of the regulatory agency responsible for improving the business, Ishrat argued.
Government-released data reveals that while Pakistan’s ranking in ease of doing business has improved, a ranking that the World Bank Country Director Illango Patchamuthu noted can and should be further improved despite that fact that most businesses are struggling and large-scale manufacturing sector has been witnessing negative growth for the past year. To put it facetiously, while the government is proactively engaged in improving administration of the regulations the fact remains that its economic policies are acting as an impediment to productivity notably a prohibitively high cost of borrowing given the discount rate of 13.25 percent, higher costs of other key inputs, particularly electricity tariffs compared to other regional competitors which is also fuelling smuggling across our porous borders and inadequate releases of refunds in spite of frequent pledges to do so.
Ishrat while indirectly acknowledging this state of affairs by stating that “we have to create an environment in which the business process re-engineers," argued that the way forward would be to minimize the engagement between the regulator and those it seeks to regulate through greater use of Information Technology (IT). The Advisor added that “we will have to automate all business processes, reduce interaction between the tax collector and taxpayer through automation including automation of income tax, customs duty, sales tax and even refunds."
He maintained that there is no consistency of enforcement of reforms from one administration to another administration, adding that “our misfortune is that we have politicised the business of reforms." Sadly, one would have to agree with him in spite of the fact that those in the forefront of ushering in reforms have not changed from one administration to the next – Dr Hafeez Sheikh, for example, has held the portfolio of finance and privatisation during previous administrations, Omar Ayub held the minister of state of finance portfolio during the Musharraf years, and Dawood also held a portfolio during the Musharraf era.
The question then is why do the same people change their views on reforms once they change their party affiliation? This is partly attributable to the fact that as a perennial IMF borrower, Pakistani administrations implement reforms sponsored by international lending agencies as and when they go on a programme, reforms that in spite of some minor changes in the lending agencies mindset remain more or less the same; however, once the programme conditions begin to bite as they invariably do, Pakistani governments bow down to political considerations, thereby abandoning their economic compulsions.
While enhanced automation would resolve many of the discretionary powers currently acknowledged as impediments to growth, reduce corruption and improve the country’s ranking in ease of doing business, yet there is a need to also change the mindset of those who get to head ministries/departments again and again without achieving any positive tangible long lasting results.