Pakistan sets target of $5 billion trade,1 million jobs through E-commerce for the year 2022: Senator Aon Abbas

Center of Pakistan and International Relations (COPAIR) hosts special media briefing on “E-Commerce Ecosystem” by Senator Aon Abbas Buppi

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Islamabad:  Senator Aon Abbas Buppi Special Assistant to Prime Minister on E-Commerce gave a special media briefing on “E-Commerce Ecosystem” arranged by the Center of Pakistan and International Relations (COPAIR) in Islamabad here on Wednesday.  The event was attended by a large number of senior journalists including Bureau Chiefs of all electronic and print media houses.  President COPAIR Amna Munwar Awan in her welcoming remarks expressed profound gratitude and assured of COPAIR’s continued cooperation and policy advisory role. She mentioned that the pertinent media brief aims to highlight Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision, policy, and performance of e-commerce so far and future strategy.

Senator Aon Abbas Buppi, praised the President COPAIR, Amna Munawwar Awan for organizing the event to deliberate upon an important policy matter of E-commerce.  The senator stated that to facilitate micro small and medium businesses, an e-Tajarat portal is under development and shall be launched very soon. He hailed the E-Commerce Portal as one of the most significant initiatives of the PTI government to boost the E-Commerce economy of Pakistan in line with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision for a digital Pakistan. He maintained that the E-Commerce platform is pivotal to implementing the E-Commerce policy of Pakistan which is expected to generate youth employment thus taking care of Pakistan’s growing youth bulge. The Senator also underscored the significance of the E-Commerce Portal in terms of its potential to help in informed decision-making to realize the vision of a digital economy.

He maintained the government was to establish a Virtual E-Commerce University Project to facilitate and create new SMEs/Freelancers to learn various skills readily available on the eUniversity portal. Moreover, he said that the establishment of E-SHIPMENT PORTAL in collaboration with Pakistan Post, providing eCommerce Solutions for cross-border shipping will facilitate SMEs to access 200+ countries through the postal and commercial networks.

Apprising the audience of the dynamics of the Global E-Commerce market, the honorable Senator estimated the Global E-Commerce market at $ 30 trillion, B2B E-Commerce market at $25 trillion, B2C E-Commerce market at $5 trillion. The worthy speaker said that while Pakistan’s E-Commerce market was valued at $4 billion (based on SBP data and assuming 90% CoD) the Exports under the B2C e-Commerce export framework crossed $7.28 million from Jan 2021 to Nov 2021. The Senator said to facilitate cross-border e-commerce export, the B2C e-Commerce export framework was Introduced removing the requirement of Form-E value up to USD 5000. He mentioned that the B2B2C e-Commerce export framework introduced to support selling via international online platforms such as Amazon will go a long way in generating enhanced revenues.

The Senator highlighted the PTI government’s commitment to supporting Startup Ecosystem. To achieve this end, the government introduced the Equity Investment Abroad Policy in February 2021 that supports Pakistani startups to raise capital from abroad by allowing an operating company (OpCo) to incorporate a holding company (HoldCo).

The senator also talked about the government’s willingness to facilitate and encourage Freelancers and maintained that due to various capacity and skills development programs and initiatives the monthly remittance limit increased from $5000 to $25,000. He noted that the Digiskills.pk program trained 1.3 million youth on freelancing and digital skills. As a result, International Labor Organization’s (ILO) World Employment and Social Outlook report 2021 ranked Pakistan as 3rd in the world behind India and Bangladesh in terms of online labour supply on major freelancing platforms. As per PAFLA, the number of freelancers in Pakistan is 1 million, in India 15 million, and in Bangladesh 650,000. The Special Assistant to PM on e-Commerce highlighted the potential of Pakistani freelancers who are providing services in software development & technology, writing, and translation, sales, and marketing, etc. He said, to ensure financial inclusion & digital payments, the government established Instant Digital Payment System (RAAST). RAAST is Pakistan’s first instant payment system that enables end-to-end digital payments among individuals, businesses, and government entities.

Highlighting efforts to improve logistics, he said that the Integration of Pak Post with National Single Window is in the process while Digital Franchise Post Office is already offering all postal services both domestic and international as well as more than 200 financial services to its customers.

The senator said as per Pakistan Telecom, Pakistan has 106 million 3G/4G subscribers and 109 million broadband subscribers. Understandably, e-Commerce is not possible without the internet. Therefore the government is developing and improving the ICT Infrastructure.

A code of conduct for e-Commerce business was developed in the e-Commerce policy. The speaker concluded the briefing by highlighting the targets set by the government to be achieved by 2023, Create 1 million job opportunities for youth in Pakistan Certify 5000 students enrolled in e-commerce universities.  At the end of the event President COPAIR, Amna Munawwar Awan presented a souvenir to Senator Aon Abbas Buppi.

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