Govt urged to launch digital market policy to compete with international markets

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PRGMEA) has asked the government to also launch a digital market policy after consultation with stakeholders so that business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) business can be catered in addition to spurring exports in a post-pandemic world.

The request was made by PRGMEA Central Chairman Sohail A. Sheikh and Chief Coordinator Ijaz Khokhar who briefed association members about e-commerce clearance facility developed recently by the Federal Board of Revenue’s Customs Department (FBR) here on Sunday.

“The coronavirus crisis has accelerated the uptake of digital solutions, tools and services and we must develop a digital market policy to keep up with the times,” he said.

Sheikh appreciated the efforts of concerned officials in developing an e-commerce automated clearance facility in collaboration with the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), saying the move will prove to be very effective for SMEs, helping them promote their business, especially in the era of a post-pandemic economic slowdown.

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Stressing the need for the digital market policy, he said that estimated e-commerce sales value, which includes B2B and B2C sales, is equivalent to 30 per cent of global gross domestic product.

According to a report by World Bank (WB), B2C transactions grew from $1.5 trillion in 2014 to $2.3 trillion in 2017 and are now projected to grow to $4.88 trillion in 2021.

It is to be noted that under the SBP regulatory framework for B2C e-commerce exports, the exporters now can send their e-commerce consignments without the requirement of e-form up to $5,000 per consignment.

PRGMEA Chief Coordinator Ijaz Khokhar said that e-commerce is growing four times faster than the world economy; however, cross border e-commerce is impacted by trade facilitation and logistics.

“Poor trade facilitation and logistics will have serious effects on the economy in our new world. We need to enhance the digital marketing activities because all physical exhibitions have been cancelled so the only marketing method left now is the digital mode. All our competitors in the region are aggressively capturing the market through the internet,” he added.

The PRGMEA chairman concluded by reiterating the need for a digital market policy, adding that worldwide buying trends have changed with more and more people opting for online shopping.

“Major online companies have increased their business. Again, we request the government to interact with the concerned stakeholders to urgently form policies in this regard,” he said.

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