Work on National E-commerce Policy underway

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Ashraf Mahmood Wathra has announced on Thursday that the Ministry of Commerce and SBP are devising a national policy on e-commerce to encourage foreign investment, trade as well as developing an eco-system conducive for e-commerce.

The policy was announced at the 10th JazzCash International Mobile Conference.

The governor pointed out that the SBP is aware that the high cost of e-payment is linked to the associated risks. He revealed that a new mechanism for quick fraud detection is in the process to protect merchants, consumers and their associated banks from losses. He urged banks to rationalise the cost of transactions to boost e-commerce.

He added the central bank is encouraging the entry of non-banking payment system operators and service providers through the regulations in 2014, although their effectiveness is yet to be determined.

Wathra also pointed out the number of m-wallet accounts had increased, however the majority of these accounts remain inactive hence, this does not necessarily depict the true picture of the industry.

“A total of 110m transactions worth Rs520 billion were carried out in July-Sept,” he said.

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Chairman Dr Syed Ismail Shah said in a video message that the e-commerce industry as a whole needs to streamline its efforts to strengthen the digital market rather than trying to outperform each other. He also stressed upon ongoing investment in technology and big data houses to keep the market at par with the global trends.

Planet N Group of Companies Founder Nadeem Hussain said a digital revolution is on its way in Pakistan, which has contributed to economic growth in the country.

He said 8 to 10 entities are establishing big data houses in Pakistan that will increase the pace of the digital revolution. However, the industry faces the challenge of getting dormant m-wallet accounts activated, he added.

Mobilink Microfinance Bank President and CEO Ghazanfar Azzam highlighted that the telecom-led banks are targeting to increase the m-wallet accounts to 50m by 2020.

Finca Microfinance Bank CEO Mudassar Aqil suggested making e-payment transactions free of charge to achieve desired results.


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