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Pakistan desperate to see PayPal, other payment gateways

LAHORE: As the world moves closer to adopting digital economy, the business community of Pakistan has started feeling the absence of e-commerce payment gateways in Pakistan.

The Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) has started demanding government authorities to bring global e-commerce payment gateways in Pakistan, as this mode of business will replace the traditional business methods and transaction in coming years.

"Government should direct concerned authorities including the State Bank of Pakistan, Ministry of Information Technology and others to strive for bringing e-commerce payment gateways like PayPal, Google pay, Samsung pay, Ali-pay to Pakistan for necessary promotion of exports and business in international arena," said SCCI President Majid Raza Bhutta.

For Bhutta, electronic commerce offers unprecedented opportunities to both developing and developed countries; the advancement of technology has aided international business and has impacted the global economy in many ways.

"Millions of people worldwide use the internet to do everything from research to purchasing products online; the internet is profoundly affecting almost all businesses," he added.

In Pakistan, e-commerce market is on a growth trajectory and such demands have been made repeatedly by business gurus of different sectors. Some local start-ups are coming up with electronic payment solutions but those are at their infancy and hence, are catering to local markets. In addition, mobile wallets are also paving way for digital transactions.

Keeping this need in view, some global companies have now focused on Pakistan; however, it will take some time before the country actually has a global payment gateway.

"There is a dire need in Pakistan for some global payment solutions as the e-commerce market is growing at a rapid pace," said Ajmal Samuel, Chairman Octo3, a Hong Kong-based company providing Information technology Solutions.

He further said that his company is looking to provide digital payment solutions in Pakistan, which will be accepted globally for which the company is already developing partnerships with different banks and such institutions.

Various uses of the internet by business entities include the ability to advertise generate or otherwise perform regular business functions and many firms are embracing the internet for their activities. One impact of e-commerce is to intensify competition and producing benefits to consumers in lower prices and more choices.

The SCCI president said that this mode of business bypasses the whole supply chain involving middle-men, brokers and suppliers and reaches out directly to end users earning more profits.

"It is a sad fact that as the world has moved away from basic payment gateways to the most advanced e-currency 'Bitcoin', Pakistan still lacks payment gateways mandatory to carry out international e-trade."

Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association Chairman Ijaz Khokhar said that the absence of global payment solutions have isolated Pakistani business community from the digital world and has forced them to use alternatives that are not very effective.

"We strongly recommended concerned authorities that PayPal be bought to Pakistan on emergent basis to provide exporters of Pakistan with an opportunity to reach out to end users around the globe and better market their products with greater profit margins," Khokhar added.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 29th, 2017.

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