The government is all set to unveil an upcoming system to process payments within Pakistan. From Pakistan through an alliance with any international payment facilitator, officials briefed on last Thursday.

The National Institutional Facilitation Technologies (NIFT) officials elaborated that the third party’s involvement would facilitate the payment system. The payment facility is going to functional by the end of the year 2020. However, the multi-party commitment with the effect of COVID has modified the plan.

“Nevertheless, they are working on it and will modernise as soon as they are prepared to take it to SBP. Assistance from SBP will come in once they put in the entire details for their review. The pilot run is now anticipated in second quarter of 2021,” the NIFT official told the 4th meeting of National E-commerce Council (NECC).

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Razak Dawood head the meeting attended by members from the public and private sectors.

The payment system will also able common man living outside Pakistan to pay through Paypal, Google Pay and Apple Pay, according to transactional clearing facilitator NIFT.

The information and technology ministry said they had consulted a data protection bill with all the relevant stakeholders. The NECC was also briefed on the cloud policy and cybersecurity policy formulation that is in process.

The Federal Board of Revenue informed the meeting on the legal framework updates, including e-commerce rules regarding the mechanism of imports goods clearance, return of goods policy and Web-based One Customs e-commerce module. The National Taxation Council is working on harmonisation of the taxation regime in all provinces and federation.

The sub-committee on financial inclusion and digitisation shared its progress of conducted three webinars for freelancers, mobile wallet and account-based solutions and card-based payments in collaboration with commerce. It is in the process of issuing a white paper on the suggestions received for further deliberation. NECC was also briefed on matters relating to the consultative committee on women economic empowerment.

Trade Development Authority of Pakistan shared its updates regarding trade facilitation portal. Concept paper on e-Commerce portal prepared by the Asian Development Bank was also approved.

The Mercantile Exchange Department gave a detail presentation on Pakistan’s first and only multi-commodity futures exchange.

The Punjab Consumer Protection Council presented ‘complaint registration portal’, which will be operational in two to three months. It will be a facilitative forum for the complainant from the complaint to the decision communication.

The Bank Al-Falah briefed the meeting about its new initiative about the “Alfa Payment Gateway for online Payments” through which anyone can collect payments online from anywhere in Pakistan. It’s a complete payment suite for e-commerce needs.

The NECC is a body of representatives from the public and private sector, constituted under the National e-Commerce Policy approved by the federal cabinet in October 2019. NECC’s main objective is to develop effective collaboration with all relevant sectors for the practical implementation of the e-Commerce Policy. The first, second, and third NECC meetings were held in January and June and September 2020 respectively. The NECC discussed operationalisation of cross border e-commerce procedure, incentives for promoting e-commerce, discussion on international payment services.

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