Over Rs4bn received by freelancers from abroad since January 2020

Published May 4, 2021
The e-commerce and IT sectors in the country grew as businesses and trade suffered due to the coronavirus restrictions and lockdowns. — Reuters/File
The e-commerce and IT sectors in the country grew as businesses and trade suffered due to the coronavirus restrictions and lockdowns. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: The country’s freelancers have received more than Rs4 billion since January 2020 using a tech-based solution amid the Covid-19 pandemic, said Ghazanfar Azzam, president and CEO, Mobilink Microfinance Bank, on Monday.

Sharing details at a media talk, he said, “Freelance work by IT professionals increased under the circumstances but they were facing the issue of remittances of very small amounts, ranging from $100-$500. We devised a solution, given that more professionals are taking up small IT jobs.”

The e-commerce and IT sectors in the country grew as businesses and trade suffered due to the coronavirus restrictions and lockdowns. Pakistan is the fourth fastest growing freelance market globally. However, freelancers faced delays and high costs when the amount was remitted via mainstream channel.

One of the subsidiaries of Mobilink Microfinance Bank — JazzCash — partnered with Payoneer, an American financial services company that provides online money transfer and digital payment services, he explained.

“Over Rs4bn has been received since January 2020 by more than 100,000 freelancers through Payoneer and JazzCash accounts,” Mr Azzam said.

Reduction in human interaction and movements as well as improvements in internet connectivity has helped the promotion of e-commerce, he added.

The CEO went to say that large banks did not provide loans for small commercial loading vehicles, motorcycles etc but the microfinance sector caters for such needs.

“Ranging from food sector to general items, the supply to home business has increased manifold and so has the demand for riders and motorcycles,” he said, adding that such needs are being fulfilled only by the microfinance sector.

The technological inclusivity has helped reduce time, cost and human interactions in the processing of loans for such ventures and small agri-loans to buy a cattle or cart too has enhanced.

Similarly, JazzCash has launched a business app to cater the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector which is yet to realise the full benefits of a digital payments ecosystem, he said, adding that some amongst them are not even part of the formal economy.

There are a large number of SMEs in Pakistan but only a few thousand accept digital payments making it a predominately cash-based sector.

The JazzCash Business App will provide visibility on business performance and automating day-to-day activities.

Users can receive payments through QR, reconcile transactions, disburse salaries and make payments for stock procurement.

However, Mr Azzam said the policy-makers and the government departments in developing countries like Pakistan have no empathy with the small and micro businesses which is restricting the growth of this sector compared to the developed countries that have a more secure financial network.

Published in Dawn, May 4th, 2021

Follow Dawn Business on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook for insights on business, finance and tech from Pakistan and across the world.

Opinion

Editorial

IMF’s projections
Updated 18 Apr, 2024

IMF’s projections

The problems are well-known and the country is aware of what is needed to stabilise the economy; the challenge is follow-through and implementation.
Hepatitis crisis
18 Apr, 2024

Hepatitis crisis

THE sheer scale of the crisis is staggering. A new WHO report flags Pakistan as the country with the highest number...
Never-ending suffering
18 Apr, 2024

Never-ending suffering

OVER the weekend, the world witnessed an intense spectacle when Iran launched its drone-and-missile barrage against...
Saudi FM’s visit
Updated 17 Apr, 2024

Saudi FM’s visit

The government of Shehbaz Sharif will have to manage a delicate balancing act with Pakistan’s traditional Saudi allies and its Iranian neighbours.
Dharna inquiry
17 Apr, 2024

Dharna inquiry

THE Supreme Court-sanctioned inquiry into the infamous Faizabad dharna of 2017 has turned out to be a damp squib. A...
Future energy
17 Apr, 2024

Future energy

PRIME MINISTER Shehbaz Sharif’s recent directive to the energy sector to curtail Pakistan’s staggering $27bn oil...