E-Commerce Policy to focus on development and promotion of SMEs – Aisha Humera Moriani
Ms. Aisha Humera Moriani, Joint Secretary (WTO), Ministry of Commerce & Textile said that e-commerce policy of Pakistan would focus on the development and promotion of SMEs for making Pakistan a significant player of the regional and global digital economy. She said this while addressing a seminar on e-commerce policy of Pakistan organized by Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry in collaboration with Ministry of Commerce & Textiles. She said that e-commerce was a growing trend in the world as e-commerce sales of China reached $1526 billion in 2018 followed by US $526, UK $ 124 billion, Japan $109 billion, S. Korea $78 billion, Germany $73 billion, France $58 billion and Canada $44 billion. She said that e-commerce sales in Pakistan was over Rs.20.7 billion, which grew by 93.7 percent in 2018 reaching Rs.40.1 billion, which showed that Pakistani businesses has great potential grow through digital sales. She said that the policy would contribute towards achieving higher export growth through enhanced activities from e-platforms, promote small e- businesses and create employment opportunities through digital connectivity for empowering youth, especially in remote areas. She emphasized that SMEs should use e-commerce platforms to get connected with online markets across the globe for promoting trade and exports. Sharoon Rasheed Deputy Director State Bank of Pakistan highlighted the role of SBP in promoting e-commerce. He said that SBP will speed up its work on nationwide micropayment gateway and will further facilitate accessibility to international payment gateways. He said that SBP rules and regulations already facilitated any entity to provide payment services in Pakistan subject to consumer protection, risk management and financial stability. Mr.Iqbal Munir Chief Customs (Exports) Federal Board of Revenue highlighted the role of FBR in promoting e-commerce. He said that customs systems would be aligned with e-commerce to facilitate the growth of digital economy and urged that business community should share e-commerce related issues that would be addressed to facilitate them in e-business promotion. Muhammad Ahmed Waheed, President ICCI said that due to cyber security issues, there was a lack of trust in online transactions and urged that government should address this issue to promote e-commerce in Pakistan. He said that maximum awareness should be created amongst exporters, SMEs and other stakeholders for enhancing the use of e-platforms. He said that providing easy access to international payment gateways was the key requirement for e- commerce to grow fast and urged that the policy should address such issues. Tahir Abbasi Senior Vice President and Saif ur Rahman Khan Vice President ICCI also highlighted various issues that were required to be addressed to facilitate the growth of e-commerce in Pakistan.