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Pakistan set to pilot-run foreign payment system in April

February 12, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The government is all set to launch a new system to process payments within and from Pakistan through integration with any international payment provider, officials said on Thursday.

The officials of the National Institutional Facilitation Technologies (NIFT) said the payment system will be facilitated by the involvement of third party. The payment facility was to become functional by the end of 2020. However, the multi-party engagement with the effect of COVID has affected the plan.

“However, we are working on it and will update as soon as they are ready to take it to SBP. Assistance from SBP will come in once they put in the complete details for their review. The pilot run is now expected in second quarter of 2021,” the NIFT official told the 4th meeting of National e-Commerce Council (NeCC).

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Razak Dawood chaired the meeting that was attended by members from public and private sector.

The payment system will also enable people residing outside Pakistan to pay through Paypal, Google Pay and Apple Pay, according to transactional clearing facilitator NIFT.

The ministry of information and technology said data protection bill has been consulted with all the relevant stakeholders. The NeCC was also briefed on the cloud policy and cyber security policy formulation that is in process.

The Federal Board of Revenue informed the meeting on the legal framework updates including ecommerce rules regarding mechanism of imports goods clearance, return of goods policy and Web-based One Customs ecommerce module. The National Taxation Council is working on harmonisation of the taxation regime in all provinces and federation.

The sub-committee on financial inclusion and digitisation shared its progress of conducted three webinars for freelancers, mobile wallet and account-based solutions and card based payments in collaboration with the commerce ministry. It is in the process of issuing white paper on the suggestions received for further deliberation. NeCC was also briefed on matters relating to consultative committee on women economic empowerment.

Trade Development Authority of Pakistan shared its updates regarding trade facilitation portal. Concept paper on e-Commerce portal prepared by the Asian Development Bank was also approved.

The Mercantile Exchange Department gave a presentation on Pakistan’s first and only multi-commodity futures exchange, ‘global commodities trading platform’ that will be functional in this year and increase the export by providing a complete suite of services, including trading, clearing/settlement and custodial services under one roof.

The Punjab Consumer Protection Council presented ‘complaint registration portal’, which will be operational in two to three months. It will be a facilitative forum for the complainant from the complaint to the decision communication.

The Bank Al-Falah briefed the meeting about its new initiative about the “Alfa Payment Gateway for online Payments” through which anyone can collect payments online from anywhere in Pakistan. It’s a complete payment suite for e-commerce needs.

The NeCC is a body of representatives from public and private sector, constituted under the National e-Commerce Policy approved by federal cabinet in October 2019. The main objective of NeCC is to develop effective collaboration with all relevant sectors for practical implementation of the e-Commerce Policy. The first, second and third meetings of NeCC were held in January and June and September 2020 respectively. The NeCC discussed operationalization of cross border ecommerce procedure, incentives for promoting ecommerce, discussion on international payment services.