E-commerce has potential to reach $1 bn by 2020

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APP111-21 ISLAMABAD: December 21 - Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chairing the 1st meeting of the E-Commerce Policy Board. APP

ISLAMABAD, Dec 21 (APP): The first meeting the of e-commerce Policy Board chaired by Minister for Finance Muhammad Ishaq Dar here on Wednesday was informed that e-Commerce was still in its infancy in Pakistan but it was estimated to reach US$ 1 billion by 2020 provided the correct regulatory framework and infrastructure is in place.
The Board had recently been constituted by the Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif to oversee the cross-institutional efforts of creating an e-Commerce Policy Framework being coordinated by the Ministry of Commerce, said a statement issued by the finance ministry.
The Minister said that formation of the e-Commerce Policy Board was proof of the government’s serious commitment to the promotion of e-Commerce in Pakistan.
He highlighted the importance of creating a conducive environment for the growth of e-Commerce in the country, including through provision of the requisite infrastructure, and legal and regulatory framework.
Secretary Commerce briefed the Board on the current status and future prospects of e-Commerce globally and in Pakistan.
He informed that e-Commerce now accounted for nearly 2.6 per cent of global GDP.
Commerce Minister, Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan, informed the Board that e-Commerce had become a globally important issue in the World Trade Organization.
He emphasized that it was extremely important for Pakistan to create an environment in the country which would lead to high growth of SMEs, including e-Commerce initiatives.
Minister of State for IT & Telecom, Anusha Rahman, informed that the Ministry of IT & Telecom is already working on some key areas related to e-Commerce which would assist in unlocking the hidden potential of e-Commerce in Pakistan.
The Board discussed the way forward to devise a comprehensive e-Commerce Policy in the country.
A detailed action plan focusing on reforms in several areas affecting e-Commerce was discussed.
The Board approved formulation of five Working Groups on various tasks in the plan, namely Taxation, Payment Infrastructure, Regulatory Framework, Logistics, and E-Commerce, WTO and Development, with representatives from both the public and private sectors.
The Board also directed that the holistic regulatory framework may be examined in consultation with all stakeholders to promote and ease e-Commerce.
The Finance Minister thanked all participants and encouraged all members of the Board to work on a fast-track basis to ensure the success of this initiative.
The meeting was also attended by Governor State Bank of Pakistan, Chairman SECP, Chairman FBR, Secretary IT, Secretary Communications, private sector representatives, and senior officials of the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Commerce and SBP.