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Improved rankings call for continuation in reforms.

Transparency International says corruption in Pakistan has declined in the four-year tenure of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government, but ease of doing business and economic freedom in the country deteriorated, according to the World Bank and Heritage Foundation.

Creditable global institutions like Asian Development Bank, World Bank and International Monetary Fund generally applaud the four-year performance of the present regime. Each, however, repeatedly warn the economic planners about the risks faced by the economy.

With giving due credit to Pakistan, it must be realised that low positions in all the rankings mean Pakistan is still a vulnerable economy. It has introduced reforms, but at a very slow pace.

It goes to the credit of the present regime that its rank in the corruption perception index of Transparency International has constantly improved since 2013 - the year PML-N assumed power.

The country's transparency score was 28 out of 100 in 2013, ranking it at 127 out of 175 economies. The same year India with a score of 40 ranked 79 and Bangladesh 136 with a score of 2.7. In 2014, Pakistan's score improved to 30 and ranked 117 out of 167. In 2015, the rank improved to 117/176 and transparency score stood at 32. In 2016, the transparency score and the country's rank remained static at 32 and 116. India, with a score of 40, ranked 79 and Bangladesh with a score of 26 ranked 126.

In the Economic Freedom Index of Heritage Foundation, Pakistan's economic freedom's score was 55 out of 100 in 2013, 55.25 in 2014, 54.6 in 2015, 56.2 in 2016 and 52.6 in 2017. The economic freedom was less than its score in 2013. This implies that economic freedom has declined in the past four years. India's rank and score was almost the same as that of Pakistan.

As far as gender gap is concerned, Pakistan is a way behind India and Bangladesh. In fact, gender parity is much better in Bangladesh than India and Pakistan. In 2015, Pakistan ranked 144 out of 146 economies with a score of 0.539 out of a maximum of one. India ranked 108 with a score of 0.664 and Bangladesh 64 with a gender gap score of 0.704.

In 2016, its score and rank nominally increased to 0.556 and 143/144.

India's rank improved to 87 with a score of 0.682. The gap slightly widened in Bangladesh as it slipped to 72nd position from 64 a year earlier. Keeping the fair gender out of economic activities has placed a heavy burden on the economy. Bangladesh is integrating its women in economic activities that are paying dividends in the shape of improved health and education indicators.

The World Bank's 'Doing Business' reports showed slow deterioration of efficiency and competitiveness of our economy. In 2013, when this government assumed power Pakistan was much ahead of India and Bangladesh and ranked 107 out of more than 170 economies. India was at 132 and Bangladesh at 129. In 2014, India's rank further declined to 130 and that of Pakistan and Bangladesh declined to 110 and 126, respectively. The deterioration of doing business ranking continued to decline in all the three countries in 2015. Pakistan's rank slumped to 126, India to 134 and Bangladesh to 173.

The doing business parameter further deteriorated in Pakistan in 2016 and the country ranked 144 against India's rank of 130. Bangladesh's situation also continued to decline with 176 position last year. In 2017 report, Pakistan moved four ranks above to 140, while doing business ranking of India and Bangladesh declined to 131 and 178, respectively.
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Publication:Enterprise (Asianet-Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Jun 30, 2017
Words:678
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