E-commerce policy framework on anvil


Parliamentary Secretary for Commerce and Textile Shaza Fatima Khawaja, Monday, informed National Assembly that Ministry of Commerce is working to formulate a National E-Commerce Policy Framework for digital trade in the country.
During the question hour she said, “National E-Commerce Policy Framework Ministry of Commerce is working on a policy framework for development of e-Commerce/digital trade in the country cognizant of the global developments in digital trade and e-Commerce.”
She said the Prime Minister’s Office has directed Ministry of Commerce to formulate a comprehensive e-Commerce policy after consultation with all stakeholders.
She said, so far, two national workshops and several meetings of the e-Commerce Working Groups have been held so far to sensitize the relevant stakeholders on formulation of the said framework.
She said according to data of State Bank of Pakistan, the value of e-Commerce transactions in Financial Year 2017 amounted to Rs. 6,041 million while the market of the e-Commerce industry in the country is currently estimated at around USD 600 Million, which is expected to grow to around USD 1 Billion by 2020.
She said that the past few years have seen a rising trend of domestic online shopping despite the insufficiency of required infrastructure for e-Commerce in Pakistan.
As per directive of Prime Minister office Ministry of Commerce constituted a National Advisory Council (NAC) on e-Commerce and e-Commerce Policy Unit (ECPU) comprising all relevant public and private sector stakeholders.
Technical work on various aspects of e-Commerce policy would be undertaken by smaller Working Groups, she added.
She said, Prime Minister directed the creation of a Policy Board headed by Finance Minister keeping in view the interdependencies involved in the policy formulation and implementation framework of the e-Commerce policy.
She said that the government is taking various steps for the promotion of fruits exports to various countries.
She said that Board of Administrators of the Export Development Fund has approved funds for implementation of Good Agriculture Practices (GAP).
She further said that a Citrus Development Board is being set up in the Ministry of National Food Security and Research for the development of the citrus sector including the improvement of fruit quality and coordination of efforts for fighting the fruit diseases.
The Department of Plant Protection (DPP) regulates the export of fruits by conducting mandatory pest surveillance, orchard registration and certification of packing and processing plants, quarantine inspection, treatment of fresh fruit and issuance of Phytosanitary Certificates (PC) in accordance with the requirements of the importing countries she added.
She further said that Ministry of Commerce has established Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Company (PHDEC) to, inter-alia, improve quality of fruits for exports.
Responding to another question she said that Germany is the biggest trading partner of Pakistan in the European Union. —APP

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