February 11, 2021 at 5:47 pm
Chitral Times Report
ISLAMABAD: The Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce chaired the 4th meeting of National e-Commerce Council (NeCC) on 11th February, 2021 at the Ministry of Commerce (MOC). The meeting was attended by members from public and private sector. 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. According to SBP, Pakistan’s e-Commerce market size has increased to 96 billion Rs. in Q12021 as compared to 71 billion Rs in Q12020. E-Commerce merchants with prepayment have been increased to 2,164 from 1,410 in past 12 months.
The NeCC discussed operationalization of cross border e-Commerce procedure, incentives for promoting e-commerce, discussion on International Payment Services i.e. PayPal through checkout, Mercantile Stock Exchange, digital on-boarding services, Reports of Consultative Committee of Women Economic Empowerment (WEE), e-commerce business facilitation portal, Consumer Protection Councils, availability of broad band to remote areas, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP)’s Digital Transformation process and collaboration with Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) on e-Commerce related matters. The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) informed the meeting on the legal framework updates including e-Commerce rules regarding mechanism of Imports Goods Clearance, Return of Goods Policy and WEBOC E-Commerce Module. It also informed that National Taxation Council (NTC) is working on harmonization of the taxation regime in all provinces and federation.
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) also gave thorough presentation on its efforts to promote cross-border e-commerce. The National Institutional Facilitation Technologies (NIFT) informed the meeting that it is in the process of developing a payment solution for cross border/international payments in collaboration with the SBP through which people residing outside Pakistan will be able to pay through Paypal, Google Pay and Apple Pay while payments within/from Pakistan will be processed by integration with any international payment provider. Payment system will be facilitated by the involvement of third party. Its payment facility was to become functional by the end of 2020. The multi-party engagement with the effect of COVID has really effected the plan. However, they 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 Sub-committee on Financial Inclusion & Digitization shared its progress of conducted three webinars for freelancers, mobile wallet & account based solutions and card based payments in collaboration with MOC. It informed that it was 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 (WEE). The TDAP shared its updates regarding Trade Facilitation Portal, collaboration between TDAP and SMEDA and TDAP’s B2B portal. Concept paper on e-Commerce portal prepared by ADB was also approved. The Mercantile Exchange Department gave a presentation on Pakistan’s first and only multi-commodity futures exchange, “Global Commodities Trading Platform” (GCTP) that will be functional in this year and increase the export by providing a complete suite of services i.e. Trading, clearing/settlement and custodial services under one roof.
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 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 Ministry of IT informed that Data Protection Bill has been consulted with all the relevant stake holders and is with the Minister. The NeCC was also briefed on the cloud policy and cyber security policy formulation that is in process.