According to industry sources, Pakistan’s B2C e-commerce exports have surpassed $1 million per month after the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) abolished a requirement for small exporters to fill out Form-E.
According to the Chainstore Association of Pakistan (CAP), the central bank’s regulatory framework for B2C (Business to Consumer) assisted online firms of all sizes to accomplish the milestone by removing the required Form-E requirement for consignments of up to $5,000.
“Over the last few months, this development has enabled SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises], youth, and women entrepreneurs across the country to easily serve international customers in dozens of countries,” CAP chairman Tariq Mehboob said.
“We expect international payment gateways such as Paypal, AliPay, and Stripe to offer their services in Pakistan as a result of the exponential growth already seen in this space,” he added.
He claimed that before the SBP’s intervention, online businesses had no legitimate mechanism to send overseas orders, forcing them to rely on gifts and sample programs of low value.
Mehboob thanked the National e-Commerce Council (NeCC) for facilitating online enterprises in the country, praising the contribution of the Ministry of Commerce, the SBP, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), and other NeCC players in achieving the milestone for the country’s e-commerce industry.
Both the SBP and the FBR are significant public-sector players in the NeCC, which was established after the federal cabinet’s approval of the National e-Commerce Policy in October 2019.
The NeCC is a platform for governmental and private sector players, including other key private-sector organizations such as Pakistan Software Houses Association (P@SHA), Pakistan Fintech Association (PFA), and many others, to work together to advance the country’s e-commerce sector.
“Merchants are now benefiting from lower tax rates, export rebates, and cheap financing already available to the traditional export sector,” he said, adding that online businesses, including CAP members, were exporting individual orders up to $5000 per shipment with minimal documentation and competing globally while bringing in valuable foreign exchange.
Asfandyar Farrukh, CAP’s senior vice chairman, stated that international shipping prices for small-packet shipments should be cut in order for domestic enterprises to be more competitive in the international market.
He stated that Pakistan Post and local logistics firms have a huge opportunity to grow if they can catch the country’s exploding cross-border e-commerce activity.
“In addition, the government should look into partnering with China Post for its ultra-cheap ‘ePacket’ shipping facility for international deliveries,” says the report.
The significant development in e-commerce exports follows the long-awaited accession of Pakistan to Amazon’s list of sellers in May 2021, for which the NeCC established a Business-to-Business-to-Consumer (B2B2C) export mechanism to help firms working with international online marketplaces.
Farrukh stated that NeCC strives to enable timely implementation of the action items as part of the National E-commerce Policy through collaboration with stakeholders, with a focus on global connectivity, financial inclusion, digital payments, logistics, taxation, and other policy pillars.