Panel Discussion on “The Economic Potential of E-Commerce in Pakistan: Strategies to Consider”
September 28, 2022
On September 28, 2022, the Centre for Strategic Perspective (CSP) at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) in collaboration with URTASKER organized a panel discussion titled “The Economic Potential of E-Commerce in Pakistan: Strategies to Consider”. URTASKER is a NewYork based global e-commerce consulting and marketing agency. The keynote speaker of the event was Mr. Haroon Sharif, Former Minister of State and Chairman Board of Investment.
Other speakers included: Mr. Muhammad Shahrukh Khan, Creative Content Strategist, Urtasker; and Mr. Zeeshan Riaz, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Urtasker. The discussants included: Dr Usman Chohan, Director, Economics & National Development, CASS; Mr. Usama Nizamani, Assistant Research Associate, IPRI; Ms. Komal Salman, Advocacy Lead for Web 3.0, IPRI.
In her introductory remarks, Dr. Neelum Nigar, Director CSP highlighted the significance of the discussion on the economic potential ofPakistan’s e-commerce industry and the underlying challenges to it.
Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhary, DG ISSI, in his welcoming remarks, emphasized the necessity of documented economy and the positive impact of e-commerce in this regard. Ambassador Aizaz further highlighted the growing acceptance of technological use in our daily lives, especially among youth, post-pandemic.
Mr. Muhammad Shahrukh Khan explained the challenges to the e-commerce industry in Pakistan such as lack of trustand underdeveloped distributive and logistic networks. Furthermore, Mr. Shahrukh stated that we have Buyer to Buyer (B2B) potential but we lack a B2B platform. In the end, he emphasized the economic impact of e-commerce at both micro and macro level.
In his keynote address, Mr. Haroon Shareef provided an insight into the broader public policy domain with regard to e-commerce market in Pakistan. Mr. Haroon further illustrated the conundrum of insufficient production and lack of investment in the country. To increase investment, he suggested, Pakistan needs a viable public policy and contract enforcement measures.
In the discussion segment, some significant comments and issues were raised by the participants. Dr. Usman Chauhan highlighted the lack of innovation in Pakistan’s e-commerce industry. Mr. Usama Nizamani signified the need for transparency, cyber security, and data protection measures to foster the e-commerce industry in Pakistan. Ms. Absa Komal pleaded to fill the gap between technological needs and policymakers’ incompetencein its adaptation.
In his concluding remarks, Mr. Zeeshan Riaz explained the types of e-commerce. Mr. Zeeshan further maintained that instead of manufacturers, we should present ourselves as distinguished brands in the international market which would also increase the country’s export value.
For a thriving e-commerce industry, all panellists have a broader consensus on the need for trust-building measures, scaling up production, quality assurance, contract enforcement, and e-commerce-friendly regulatory measures.