BEIJING, Dec 8 (APP): Pakistan’s government has taken significant steps to facilitate cross-border e-commerce and attract foreign investment, especially from the Chinese investors, said Shaikh Muhammad Shariq, Vice President of National Bank of Pakistan and Chief representative in China.
The introduction of favorable policies, such as the removal of regulatory barriers and the simplification of import and export procedures, has created an enabling environment for investors.
These policies reduce costs and ensure transparency and efficiency in cross-border transactions, he said while addressing a recent forum titled the 3rd Cross-border E-commerce Innovation and Development Conference, in Guangzhou, China.
Shaikh Shariq opined that there is a huge growth potential for e-commerce as it is still in its emerging stages and added, Pakistan has been receiving investments, from several countries including China for e-commerce and ancillary services in infrastructures, payment systems, and e-commerce partnerships.
He remarked that Pakistan’s digital transformation has the potential to generate up to Rs. 10 trillion (US$ 35 billion) in annual economic value by 2030. The information technology and IT-enabled industry have the potential to overtake the agriculture and manufacturing sectors in exports.
The rise of cross-border e-commerce in Pakistan has caught the attention of Chinese investors, leading to a significant influx of investments in the sector. This trend has been facilitated by favorable economic and trade policies between China and Pakistan, as well as advancements in technology and logistics, he added.
He said that many government departments in Pakistan launched an online complaint center and e-governance web portal, including mobile and online applications, getting the country ready for digital change.
In 2018, China’s e-commerce platform bought Pakistan’s Daraz.pk and companies like Uber and Careem also made inroads into the country. The advent of these companies accelerated the process of digitalization in Pakistan.
National Bank of Pakistan has embarked on a technology upgrade journey as an initial step to evolving as a modern financial institution. With the upgrade of our Core Banking Application underway, there is a simultaneous thrust to improve the digital application and the ATM network.
During the year 2022, the National Bank of Pakistan processed seventy-seven million digital transactions above PKR one trillion (USD 4.89 billion) in value. The launch of the e-stamping initiative in collaboration with the Provincial Governments was yet another achievement facilitating G2P payment, he added.
“CPEC is also supporting the construction of Industrial cities which will house more warehouse facilities to support the trade that will be brought about by the project. With the need for modern warehousing facilities and fulfillment centers as e-commerce expands, the country will see a rising trend of modern storage facilities that house technologies and digital implementation that are necessary for e-commerce operations” he mentioned.
Shaikh Shariq said that Chinese investors recognize the immense potential of the Pakistani market, with its large population and growing middle class, adding that the National Bank of Pakistan has played a crucial role in facilitating these investments by providing financial support and guidance to both local businesses and Chinese investors.