State Bank to Finally Draft an E-Commerce Policy

State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and Ministry of Commerce are developing a national policy to further promote e-commerce in Pakistan, and ensure a more favorable climate for investors in the sector.

While speaking at the 10th Jazzcash International Mobile Conference, SBP Governor Ashraf Mahmood Wathra stated that the new policy shall ‘support and work towards building desired ecosystem for e-commerce market and also to encourage local trade and foreign investments in the country.’

Online security is a major issue facing the e-commerce industry in Pakistan, as many potential consumers consider online payments as risky. Addressing the need to curb online fraudulent activities, the governor said, ‘A new mechanism for proactive fraud detection is being developed to safeguard merchants, consumers and their banks.’ He also advised the banks to rationalize the cost of e-commerce transactions.

The governor revealed that the number of m-wallet accounts in Pakistan has exceeded 16 million. Most of these accounts, however, remain inactive.

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Chairman Dr Syed Ismail Shah emphasized through a video message that players in the e-commerce sector needed to collectively work towards strengthening the digital market. PTA would facilitate more services like Uber and Careem in the country, he added.

E-commerce in Pakistan

Devin Wenig, Chief Executive Officer of eBay, recently described Pakistan as among the ‘fastest growing [e-commerce] markets we have around the world.’ One of the most renowned names in online commerce, the Alibaba Group, has also expressed interest in investing in Pakistan.

The industry is poised to continue its growth in coming years with the ever increasing digital inclusion. According to Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan, the e-commerce industry in Pakistan is expected to reach $1 billion by 2020.

Source: Dawn