ISLAMABAD: The Board of Investment (BoI) Chairman Haroon Sharif has resigned from his post over not getting required support from various departments and organisations in the Centre and provinces to improve the investment environment in the country.
The chairman has resigned at a time when the BoI was working with 30 various departments and organisations to improve the business and investment environment and remove bottlenecks and facilitate investors in the smooth business operations. “Yes, I have resigned. I have sent my resignation to prime minister,” Haroon Sharif told The News.
When asked that what was the reason for his resignation? He said, “As, I was not getting required support from various departments and organisations to further improve investment climate, while the government’s entire focus was on the IMF’s package, so it was not possible for me to continue.”
After asking that whether he had some issue with the incumbent government or any minister/ advisers, he said, “There was no such issue.” He added that the only reason was lack of support from the departments. However, sources told The News that over last few weeks, some differences had emerged between the BoI chairman and high-ups in the ministry. The sources said the BOI chairman wanted to work independently without any interference. According to sources, as prime minister is the in charge minister of the BoI, and the board was supposed to report directly to him instead of high-ups, it created some differences between them and resultantly, Haroon Sharif had to tender his resignation.
It is worth mentioning that in mid-September 2018, he was appointed as chairman of the BOI and then in next month he took the charge. During his tenure, various reforms were introduced including reducing tax payments and procedures (federal and provincial payments, contributions and duties) from 47 to only 10 and he was working to further cut it to single digit. Property registration was automated through online mode. In Karachi, it was reduced from earlier 208 days to 14 days and in Lahore it was brought down from 26 days to 15 days. This has drastically reduced the time for registration of property which is one of the key areas of reforms.
Taking construction permit, clearance and NOCs was also made easy through introduction of one-window operation in Karachi and Lahore which drastically reduced the time for taking permits and NOCs. Besides, there were various other steps were taken for improving the ranking of Pakistan on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business (EoDB). Pakistan is currently at 136th place on the Bank’s ranking and after introduction of reforms and making easy the procedures and time, the government is hoping to get a significant improvement in the Bank’s next ranking.