eCommerce to enhance exports, strengthen digital economy: SAPM Aon Abbas

Govt to launch web portal, virtual university dedicated to eCommerce this year

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on eCommerce, Senator Aon Abbas Wednesday said that the federal cabinet had approved the first-ever eCommerce policy framework. 

Speaking at a seminar on eCommerce organised by the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), Senator Abbas said that eCommerce will help increase exports and strengthen the digital economy, as well as become a prime source of employment for youth in the country.

Former and present SCCI office bearers as well as high-ranking government officials, traders, exporters, importers, presidents of different bazaars, and officials representing different departments were present during the seminar.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan, under his vision of promoting the digital economy, will inaugurate an eCommerce web portal in February,” Abbas said. The newly appointed SAPM on eCommerce also revealed that a one of its kind eCommerce virtual university will also be set up in the country, which will begin operations in July this year.  

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Senator Aon Abbas said that according to rough estimates, the value of the domestic eCommerce industry rose to $4 billion, while cross-border digital trade amounted to Rs60 billion in the last year. He claimed that approximately $340 billion worth of eCommerce activities were being conducted across the country.

The SAPM further apprised that presently, there were around 1.1 to 1.2 million freelancers working in the country, contributing about $1.5 towards remittances.

Elaborating on the practical measures that the present government plans to implement to promote eCommerce, Senator Abbas said that the government will focus on improving postal services, value-chain, track and trace and banking systems. “Prime Minister Imran Khan envisions a system which ensures smooth transportation of shipments and products when an eCommerce entrepreneur or a consumer is sitting at home,” the senator added.

Emphasising the need for a simple, speedy, and accredited system, he said that the government was taking concrete steps to remove all hurdles and problems impeding the smooth functioning of eCommerce and internet businesses.

The session especially highlighted the significance of eCommerce for helping alleviate the youth by providing them the opportunity to contribute to the economy using digital means. Senator Abbas also announced that special training programmes for the youth will help them utilise their skills and capabilities that remain untapped owing to a lack of opportunities.

According to the senator, internet businesses are presently worth $20 trillion across the world. “Out of the total, around $4 to 5 trillion is in China,” he added. 

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