Pakistan’s e-commerce market growing

Published February 12, 2021
Pakistan’s e-commerce market size posted a growth of over 35 per cent in the first quarter of the fiscal year 2021 to Rs96 billion. — CBC/File
Pakistan’s e-commerce market size posted a growth of over 35 per cent in the first quarter of the fiscal year 2021 to Rs96 billion. — CBC/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s e-commerce market size posted a growth of over 35 per cent in the first quarter of the fiscal year 2021 to Rs96 billion compared to Rs71bn over the corresponding period of last year, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday.

The data was shared in the fourth meeting of National e-Commerce Council (NeCC) chaired by Commerce Adviser Razak Dawood and attended by representatives of the public and private sectors. The meeting was informed that e-Commerce merchants with prepayment have been increased to 2,164 from 1,410 in the past 12 months.

The NeCC is a body of representatives from the public and private sector, constituted under the National E-commerce Policy approved by the federal cabinet in Oct 2019. The main objective of the NeCC is to develop effective collaboration with all relevant sectors for practical implementation of the policy.

An official statement said the NeCC discussed operationalisation of cross-border e-commerce procedure, incentives for promoting e-commerce, discussion on international payment services, Mercantile Stock Exchange, digital on-boarding services, reports of Consultative Committee of Women Economic Empowerment (WEE), e-commerce business facilitation portal, consumer protection councils, availability of broadband to remote areas, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) digital transformation process and collaboration with Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (Smeda) on e-commerce related matters.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) informed the meeting about the legal framework updates including e-commerce rules regarding mechanism of imports goods clearance, return of goods policy and WeBOC e-commerce module. It also said that National Taxation Council (NTC) is working on harmonisation of the taxation regime in all provinces and federation.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) also gave a presentation on its efforts to promote cross-border e-commerce.

The National Institutional Facilitation Technologies (NIFT) informed the meeting that it is in the process of developing a payment solution for cross border/international payments in collaboration with the SBP through which people residing outside Pakistan will be able to pay via Paypal, Google Pay and Apple Pay while payments within/from Pakistan will be processed by integration with any international payment provider.

The payment system will be facilitated by the involvement of a third party. Its payment facility is to become functional by the end of 2020.

The Sub-committee on Financial Inclusion & Digiti­sation shared its progress of having conducted three webinars for freelancers, mobile wallet and account-based solutions and card-based payments in collaboration with MOC. The Trade Development Authority of Pakistan shared its updates regarding trade facilitation portal. A concept paper on e-commerce portal prepared by Asian Development Bank was also approved.

Published in Dawn, February 12th, 2021

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