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State Bank of Pakistan Working on Ecommerce Policy

The State Bank of Pakistan together with Ministry of Commerce will develop an ecommerce policy. The aim is to develop a national policy to attract foreign investment and establish a digital market in the country.

Mr. Ashraf Mahmood WathraHere is what the State Bank of Pakistan’s Governor, Mr. Ashraf Mahmood Wathra had to say about the new ecommerce policy.

“The policy shall support and work towards building the desired ecosystem for ecommerce market and also to encourage local trade and foreign investments in the country.”

He was talking to the one-day conference organized by Total Communications in collaboration State Bank of Pakistan and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.

He also shared the fact that State Bank of Pakistan was well aware of the high costs associated with e-payments.

“Due to risk associated with online payments, but we are also mindful that new mechanism for proactive fraud detection is being developed to safeguard the merchants, consumers and their banks from losses.”

He urged the banks and other companies involved in facilitating ecommerce payments to lower the transaction costs to boost economic activity generated because of the online trade in Pakistan.

He also shared the fact that State Bank of Pakistan had to do extensively legislation to include non-banking payment system operators and service providers into payment services. However, he openly expressed his dissatisfaction with their impact on the ecommerce industry of Pakistan.

The m-wallet accounts as per the Governor stand at 16 million, and most of them are inactive. He seemed optimistic about branch-less banking, and as per him, basic financial services have now become available to remotest parts of the country with a network of over 350,000 agents.

Wathra also gave details of the level of transactions taking place.

“A total of 110 million transactions worth around Rs520 billion were carried out during the quarter of July-September 2016.”

On the other hand, PTA Chairman, Dr. Syed Ismail Shah that the Authority will soon launch more cab hailing services like Uber and Careem.

PTA Chairman also asked the industry players to join hands to strengthen the digital market and keep investing in enabling technologies.

On this occasion, Mr. Nadeem Hussain of Planet N Group of Companies said that the country was evolving because of a digital revolution, directly contributing to its economic development.

He expressed hope that there would come a time when women in remote areas would be able to get their leading products to the market using just six clicks. Mr. Nadeem Hussain also said that 8 to 10 business enterprises are establishing big data houses in the country to speed up the digital revolution. However, he also remained worried about the challenge to activate the m-wallet accounts.

On this occasion, CEO and President of Mobilink Microfinance Bank said that currently, 2 million m-wallet accounts were active. He further said, “Telecom led banks are aiming to increase the number of m-wallet accounts to 50 million by 2020.”

Telenor Microfinance President and CEO Mr. Ali Riaz Chaudhary said that industry players must join hands to help alleviate poverty in the country, to ensure financial inclusion of more underprivileged in the country. He also expected agriculture to contribute to future growth of ecommerce in the country.

Why Ecommerce Policy for Pakistan?

Pakistan’s young population, enabling technologies like 3G and 4G, and adaptability to the change all point to a brighter future of ecommerce in Pakistan. However, without a well chalked out ecommerce policy, the country lacks the future direction.

Recently, Ali Baba Company delegation visited Pakistan to explore the possibility of an ecommerce venture in Pakistan. Jack Ma had earlier met the Prime Minister of Pakistan, discussing his company’s desire to become actively involved in ecommerce within the country.

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