Senator Aon Abbas Buppi, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on E-Commerce, predicted that the country’s e-commerce trade will exceed $9 billion by 2025. He told APP that Pakistan was an emerging e-commerce market with the potential to excel in regional markets and become a global player in the coming years.
According to the SAPM, Pakistan’s revenue share of the $30 trillion global e-commerce market was only $4 billion, far less than its regional competitors. He stated that by promoting e-commerce trade in Pakistan we can balance our trade deficit which will contribute to enhancing the country’s economic growth.
He claimed that e-commerce had a larger market volume than traditional trade, and that this was an opportunity for the young population to take advantage of it and contribute to economic development.
According to the SAPM, various initiatives for the development of the e-commerce sector are being taken with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s personal interest in mind, focusing on taxation, ease of doing business, and freelancer issues.
Digital payments, banking, taxation, business registration, freelancers, startups, market excess, logistics and shipping, market access, consumer protection, and data protection are among the important areas being worked on, according to him.
The government, according to the SAPM, has implemented the country’s first zero-tax strategy for registered freelancers. Pakistan is currently the world’s third-largest digital market, and we compete with India in this space, he noted.
The inauguration of the E-Tijarat portal, for which the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is providing financial and technical assistance, Buppi added, handled concerns connected to corporations and individual data in the e-commerce trade. The E-Tijarat platform would help enhance trade and help general economic development by promoting “Made in Pakistan” products in regional and global markets, he said.
He expressed the hope that e-commerce would promote different sectors including mobile commerce, electronic funds transfer, supply chain management, internet marketing, online transaction processing, electronic data interchange (EDI), and automated data collection systems. He claimed that while the expansion of e-commerce has opened up new possibilities for economic growth, the openness of the internet and data processing by local and international e-commerce corporations has increased the possibility of people’s personal data being misused.
The SAPM added that the government adopted the first e-commerce policy in October 2019, which would provide new channels of employment prospects for the youth of the country. He said that more than 50 percent of Pakistan’s population is comprised of youth and the e-commerce sector would generate huge job opportunities for them. He said that the prime minister has given a target to create 10 million new jobs through the e-commerce sector.
The SAPM said that at present there are 5.5 million small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country which would be linked with the e-commerce sector to attract more people to this digital business.
He said that we are working with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for tax rationalization for e-commerce trade. He added that work is also underway on ease of doing business in collaboration with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), which will further facilitate this sector and create new business opportunities in the country.
Buppi said that a new Equity Investment Policy has been approved and the e-commerce sector is being linked with Silicon Valley. He urged the e-commerce giants to come forward and train the country’s big youth population so that youth from remote may also come forward and become part of the country’s economic force and earn respectable work prospects.
He claimed that e-commerce executives now had a responsibility to improve the lives of 55 percent of the country’s youth who live in rural areas. He went on to say that the government’s objective was young empowerment and that there was no greater vehicle for that than e-commerce.