The 2nd National e-Commerce Council Meeting, chaired by Mr. Abdul Razak Dawood, Advisor to the Prime Minister for Commerce & Investment of Pakistan, was held through a Virtual Live Conference on Thursday, June 18th, 2020.
The attending members of the council included Ministry of Commerce (MoC), Pakistan Software Houses Association (P@SHA), Ministry of IT & Telecom (MoITT), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), National Information Technology Board (NITB), Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, Pakistan Post (PP), Provincial Revenue Authorities (PRA), Provincial Departments of Industries and Commerce, Federal and Provincial Consumer Rights Commission/Councils, telcos, banking sector, online marketplaces, logistics companies and the freelancing community amongst other stakeholders.
The Honorable Advisor, Mr. Abdul Razak Dawood updated the participants about the progress made on the e-Commerce Policy since its approval in October 2019 and commended the coordinated efforts of the public & private sector for this purpose. He also emphasized on the increased importance of digital adaptation and e-Commerce during COVID-19 pandemic and acknowledged the collaborated efforts of P@SHA and logistics companies for facilitating the continuation of e-Commerce with SOPs during the lockdown period.
P@SHA played a lead role in sharing the progress and recommendations on the e-Commerce Policy action plan. Head of e-Commerce Committee at P@SHA and Founder of Fishry.com, Badar Khushnood, along with the Chairman, Shahzad Shahid, CEC Member Naseer Akhtar and President, Jehan Ara were representing P@SHA.
Badar Khushnood delivered a presentation highlighting the role of software exports in increasing cross-border e-Commerce and shared regional experience for quickly bringing SMEs online, especially to meet the current challenge of COVID-19. He also pointed out the need for a coordinated approach by having strong linkage with various Government Policy initiatives such as Digital Pakistan, Skill Pakistan, Make in Pakistan & SME Pakistan. He further added that accession to information technology agreement of WTO is very important to access technology and equipment.
A video message from Roberto Azevêdo, Director General WTO appreciating the e-Commerce policy of Pakistan was also shared in the meeting.
Badar Khushnood stated on this occasion, “It is commendable that the Honorable Advisor, Mr. Abdul Razak Dawood himself led the bi-annual progress meeting with all relevant public and private industry stakeholders. P@SHA is also grateful to Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Commerce, Ms. Aisha Moriani and her team for not only ensuring the presence of key public sector stakeholders but also holding accountable everyone for their responsibilities and timelines. As DG WTO also highlighted, P@SHA strongly believes that both domestic and cross-border e-commerce has huge potential to expand economic opportunities, drive social inclusion, increase SMEs access to global markets, reduce gender bias and help youth leapfrog traditional businesses. To harness the true potential of e-commerce, Pakistan needs the right legal and policy framework, infrastructure, connectivity and capacity building at all levels. With regular accountability of all stakeholders by the National E-commerce Council (NECC), Pakistan is clearly heading in the right direction to facilitate sustainable economic growth, development and job creation for SMEs, women and young entrepreneurs.”
Chairman P@SHA, Shahzad Shahid also thanked the honorable advisor for his leadership, the Joint Secretary Aisha Moriani for being the torchbearer, along with the MoC and other stakeholders including SBP for steering e-commerce in the right direction with a unique consultative approach. He hoped that the momentum will continue while committing P@SHA’s full support in bringing about the change in current business climate.
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