KARACHI, AUG 15 – COVID-19 has increased the requirement of E-Commerce and Digital Pakistan; this was stated by Sheikh Sultan Rehman, Vice President of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) in a webinar on “E-commerce and Digital Pakistan: Prospects & Challenges” held at Federation House Karachi, Regional Office Lahore and Capital Office Islamabad via zoom link.
The webinar was attended by Ms Aisha Moriani,Joint Secretary Ministry of Commerce, Mr. Raza Ahmed Sukhera,Project Manager, Ministry of Information Technology, Mr. Shehzad Shahid, Chairman Pakistan Software Houses Association (PASHA),Mr. Talha Nadeem, Senior Analyst, State Bank of Pakistan, Mr. Liaquat Sheikh, Mr. Zain Rafique Project Manager SMEDA, Ms Shamim Rajani, COO Genetech Solutions, Mr. Sultan Hamdani, Maison Consulting & Solutions, Ms Mehreen IIahi, President Karachi Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry (District East), Mr. Altaf Haswani, Sana Safinaz, Mr. Rahim Ali, Ms Jehan Ara, President PASHA Mr. Mehmood Parekh and other prominent businessmen of Pakistan.
While welcoming the participants, Sheikh Sultan Rehman Vice President FPCCI emphasized on the implementation of E-Commerce and Digital Pakistan policy for the promotion of E-Business in Pakistan. He added that the COVID-19 has increased online business wherein social marketing also plays a crucial role. Promotion of E-Commerce doesn’t need large investment for the promotion of brand and marketing of new products. He also focused to provide awareness to small businesses for utilization of technology as 64% of Pakistan’s population is youth which can quickly adopt technology and subsequently promotes IT related business.
In her remarks, Ms Aisha Moriani,Joint Secretary Ministry of Commerce updated the participants about important aspects of E-Commerce Policy like Regulation and Facilitation, Financial Inclusion and Digitization through Payment Infrastructure, Empowering Youth and SMEs through Business Support Programs and Trade Development, Customer Protection, Taxation Structure, ICT Infrastructure and Telecom Services in Pakistan, Logistics, Data Protection and Investment and
Global Connectivity etc. She also informed about the development of cross border E-Commerce system for promotion of trade and establishment of National E-Commerce Councils for promoting start ups, simplifying payment options, reducing disputes and protection of consumer rights.
Mr. Raza Ahmed Sukhera,Project Manager, Ministry of Information Technology also enlightened the participants about development of new softwares, availability of internet access, business facilitation measures, establishment of IT valley, strengthening of R&D in ICT sector, facilitation of SMEs, and start ups etc. He added that there is huge potential in E-Commerce Industry as the Global E-Commerce Sales has reached to US$ 3.4 trillion while Pakistan E-Commerce Sales stands at US$ 2 billion.
Mr. Shehzad Shahid, Chairman Pakistan Software Houses Association (PASHA) indicated that the IT related exports of Pakistan were increased by 23% last year which reflects the potential of this sector. He added that the government has set target for next three years upto US$ 5 billion for E-Commerce Sales. Most of the companies working in IT sector are at small scale and we have to increase investment in IT sector. Technology has improved the business environment and we have to improve connectivity and quality of internet service in order to compete globally. Pakistan is currently using cash on delivery system which has to be digital and in this context, banks should come forward with better incentives in order to facilitate digital payments. He informed that Punjab Government has reduced GST to 5 percent on E-payments and other provinces should also adopt similar policy. Moreover, we have to give incentives on buying of Pakistani products which will improve our innovation and ultimately benefit the domestic industry. Pakistan Post is the only company in Pakistan which has largest logistics network which also need facilitation for improving their services and reduction of cost.
Mr. Talha Nadeem, Senior Analyst SBP also suggested enhancement of role of Pakistan Post in Financial Inclusion and urged for enhancement of It penetration for SMEs, freelance and microfirms. Ms. Shamim Rajani COO Genetech Solutions also requested for holding of training sessions on digital marketing particularly for handicrafts and other products of women entrepreneurs.
Mr. Altaf Hashwani Sana Safinaz also updated the houses about growth in their business with E-Commerce domestically to 70 percent. Ms Mehreen Illahi stated about the involvement of E business in fashion and handicraft industry.