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December 10, 2019

IT firms asked to propose measures for ecommerce growth


December 10, 2019

KARACHI: Ministry of commerce asked Pakistan Software Houses Association to coordinate with IT companies to list down all the issues faced by them with practical recommendations and share them with the ministry till 1 January 2020.

The commerce ministry, during a meeting with the industry’s stakeholders, said concrete solutions would be developed in consultation with the SBP and FBR by third week of January at the launching ceremony of ecommerce policy.

Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Razak Dawood presided over the meeting for discussion with key e-commerce policy stakeholders from the public and the private sector regarding e-commerce policy implementation.

Dawood said the objective of ecommerce policy is to connect small and medium enterprises, especially women entrepreneurs, with global online retailing industry and boost exports.

“Private sector can be rightly credited as the engine of growth in every economy and the present government is committed to facilitating this sector by removing all the bottlenecks being faced by it,” he said in statement on Monday.

“The aim of this policy is to generate more employment opportunities, empower youth and SMEs (small and medium enterprises) with focus on women entrepreneurs by connecting them to global ecommerce platforms and ultimately enhancing the exports of the country.”

The meeting focused on different problems that are being faced by the private sector engaged with ecommerce.

Senior officials from National Information Technology Board (NITB), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Pakistan Software Houses Association, Habib Bank Limited and leading ecommerce platforms from the private sector attended the meeting.

Four main issues were discussed during the meeting.

The meeting discussed progress on establishment of international payment gateway in Pakistan, ease of doing business with reference to ecommerce sector, taxation on ecommerce and rescheduling of the date of the launch of ecommerce policy from 23 December, 2019 to the third week of January 2020.

With regard to the progress on international payment gateway, NITB CEO told the meeting that his team was working on a suitable arrangement to engage a foreign payment provider company willing to establish Pakistan’s own international payment gateway.

“That payment gateway will be pre-integrated with Paypal, Visa card, Master Card and Alipay,” the statement said. “The most important feature of that payment infrastructure will be security of the data generated by financial transactions carried out in Pakistan.”

Highlighting the issues being faced by the ecommerce sector, the private sector participants shared the importance of developing the whole echo system, including facilitation of venture capital and foreign investment in ecommerce companies and startups.

Taxation was also discussed and participants were informed about the dialogue with provincial revenue authorities to address double taxation.

Officials of SBP informed the meeting about the policy’s implementation status. It was told that several benchmarks identified in the policy have already been achieved. The officials further indicated willingness to find solutions for any other difficulties faced by the ecommerce companies and freelancers.