The Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce chaired the 4th meeting of the National e-Commerce Council (NeCC) at the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) on Thursday.
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 broadband to remote areas, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan’s (TDAP) Digital Transformation process, and collaboration with Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) on e-Commerce related matters.
The National Institutional Facilitation Technologies (NIFT) informed the meeting that it is developing a payment solution for cross border/international payments in collaboration with the SBP.
With this platform, people residing outside Pakistan will be able to pay through Paypal, Google Pay, and Apple Pay, while payments within Pakistan will be processed by integration with any international payment provider. This payment system will be facilitated by the involvement of a third party.
NIFT informed that the platform’s payment facility was to become functional by the end of 2020. However, the multi-party engagement with the effect of COVID has affected the plan. Now, 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 the second quarter of 2021.
The SBP gave a thorough presentation on its efforts to promote cross-border e-Commerce.
The sub-committee on Financial Inclusion & Digitization shared its progress of conducted three webinars for freelancers, mobile wallet and account-based solutions, and card-based payments in collaboration with MOC.
It informed that it was is in the process of issuing a white paper on the suggestions received for further deliberation.
FBR briefed the meeting on the legal framework updates, including e-Commerce rules regarding the 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 the harmonization of the taxation regime in all provinces and federation.
According to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Pakistan’s e-commerce market expanded to Rs. 96 billion in the first quarter of the fiscal year 2021 (Q1-2021) compared to Rs. 71 billion in the same quarter in the last fiscal year.
E-Commerce merchants with pre-payment options have increased to 2,164 from 1,410 in the past year.
NeCC was also briefed on matters relating to Consultative Committee on Women Economic Empowerment (WEE). TDAP shared its updates regarding Trade Facilitation Portal, the collaboration between TDAP and SMEDA, and TDAP’s B2B portal.
The concept paper on the 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 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 Punjab Consumer Protection Council presented the “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 representatives informed that Data Protection Bill has been consulted with all the relevant stakeholders and is now with the Minister.
The NeCC was also briefed on the cloud policy and cybersecurity policy formulation that is in process.
National e-Commerce Council is a body of representatives from the public and private sector, constituted under the National e-Commerce Policy approved by the Federal Cabinet in October 2019.
The main objective of NeCC is to develop effective collaboration with all relevant sectors for the 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.
This fourth meeting was attended by members from the public and private sectors.