Minister of State for IT Anusha Rahman while chairing a multi-stakeholder meeting with Michael Evans, president of AliBaba Group, laid out the initiatives and policy measures being undertaken by the government for enabling a broad based digital ecosystem in the country.
The focus on achieving full value chain digitisation of the economy have borne immense dividends and the situation is ripe to exploit potential of the digital infrastructure for enabling e-commerce and digital payments across the business to business (B2B) and retail markets.
Michael Evans appreciated the minister of IT and her team for tremendous achievements in ICT sector. Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce giant, has one of the biggest market shares in the world in consumer-to-consumer, business-to-consumer and business-to-business sales services via e-commerce web portals.
A high level delegation of AliBaba Group is on a two day visit to Pakistan to discuss and explore investment opportunities in the e-commerce space in the country, says a press release. The delegation is led by Michael Evans.
The minister of state for IT welcomed the delegation and explained that transformation to “Digital Pakistan” is on the priority agenda of the government with special emphasis on ‘bridging broadband divide’ to enable socio-economic development to spur economic growth.
She said due to the progressive and future looking policies of Ministry of IT and Telecommunication, ICT/telecommunication infrastructure and technology policy environment necessary for e-commerce in Pakistan are well developed.
The minister also gave highlights of the initiatives of Ministry of IT and its allied departments towards achieving the Digital Pakistan objectives. These initiatives, she said, have led to a sound environment to grow the e-commerce market particularly with the rapidly increasing penetration of mobile broadband.
She also shed light on the successful and transparent spectrum auction process, USF initiatives for the telecom infrastructure development in under and un-served areas of Pakistan. She said the gender focused ICT for girls initiative for extending access of information technology to girls which is currently being implemented across 107 girls’ schools in Islamabad Capital Territory is expected to improve the lives of many young girls by equipping them with ICT skills.
During the presentation by the ministry, a brief was also shared with the delegation on e-governance system implementation, establishment of national incubator centres (Fin Tech, Robotics and IoTs), establishment of purpose built IT parks and formulation of Telecom Policy 2015, PECA-2106 and the Digital Pakistan Policy which is currently in the works. Current policy development activities regarding e-Commerce Regulatory Framework, including consumer protection and personal data protection were also presented.
Speaking on the occasion, the minister said there are more than 139 million mobile subscribers, duly verified through the biometric verification systems which provides a lucrative platform for proliferation of financial/payments through mobile based applications. “Through USF, we have plan to expand Rs48 billion in this tenure to enhance internet penetration through mobile broadband services and to provide internet access to unconnected villages (having 100 population) across the country to connect the un-connected people,” she said. She also told the meeting that e-commerce sector may surpass $1 billion in 2020 due to exponential growth in mobile broadband access and the demand side measures being pursued by the government. She apprised the guests that handset affordability issue was also being addressed especially for poor women recipients of the BISP, through provision of free smart phones with loaded ecommerce and other specific applications.