Pakistan has managed to improve its place by 31 spots on the Trading Across Border Index as the ranking jumped from 142nd to 111th, a major achievement towards ensuring ease of doing business.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) made trading across borders easier by focusing on three crucial areas – enhancing the integration of various agencies with the Web-Based One Customs (WeBOC) electronic system; reducing the number of documents required for import/ export clearances; and enhancing capacity of Pakistan Customs officials for playing a proactive role in smoothly regulating border trade.

With the climb in the Trading Across Border Index, Pakistan jumped up 28 places – from 136th to 108th – in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index 2020 and secured a place among top 10 countries that did the most in the corresponding/past year to improve the ease of doing business in their countries.

It is important to note that border facilitation is amongst the top priority areas as per the comprehensive policy laid down by the government.

Concerted efforts by Pakistan Customs, under the FBR, helped improve the performance in terms of compliance with provisions of the World Trade Organisation (WTO)’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, complementing Pakistan’s rise in the Trading Across Border Index.

Pakistan Customs has pursued implementation of effective customs controls so that compliant trade is thoroughly facilitated while lesser/ non-compliant trade is diverted to detailed scrutiny.

In order to further improve Pakistan’s position in the Trading Across Border criterion, the FBR is pursuing simultaneous completion of the Regional Improvement of Border Services (RIBS) and Pakistan Single Window programmes. RIBS is being implemented at Torkham, Chaman and Wagah boders and is the flagship programme that is aimed at improving border-crossing facilities, which are key transit points to Afghanistan and India.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 20th, 2021.

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