PayPal in Pakistan! Here comes another good news for freelancers and e-commerce players that PayPal – a US-based financial service is coming to Pakistan. 

This has been revealed by Asad Umar (Federal Finance Minister) while chairing a high level meeting to review the IT exports and Digital Payments to drive digital inclusion in the country. He said that Ministry of IT & Telecom (MoITT) is being given four months to bring PayPal in Pakistan.

The meeting was also attended by Minister for IT & Telecom Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Law Minister Dr. Mohammad Farogh Naseem, Secretary Finance, Secretary IT, Secretary Cabinet, Secretary Privatization, representative of State Bank of Pakistan and technical experts from Ministry of IT & Telecom.

In order to engage PayPal, the MoITT has been asked to form a task force that will convince PayPal to introduce its services in Pakistan. If the engagement is not fruitful, then MoITT will work on launching a home-grown online payment system. The Finance Minister also indicated readiness to meet the CEO of PayPal and present Pakistan as a potential market.

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Not to mention that PayPal is an online money transfer system that is used by consumers, freelancers and businesses worldwide. Although, the previous government also pursued efforts to bring the international financial service to Pakistan but they could not finalise the contract.

Scope for PayPal in Pakistan

According to Online Labour Index published by Oxford Internet Institute in 2017, Pakistan ranks fourth in the freelancing market and constitutes nine percent of freelancers of the world. In an estimate, Pakistani freelancers earn over $500 million annually. Currently, this potential freelancer base faces a lot of challenge to receive payments from international clients.

Pakistan has already crossed $1 billion in IT exports and the government aspires it to grow over $10 billion by the year 2025. Therefore, PayPal will be a relief for the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry of Pakistan. The service will also give a boost to e-commerce companies, moving consumers away from conventional payment methods and enabling traders to optimize service with this digital payment gateway.

PayPal in Pakistan – An All Time Excitement!

Back in 2015, a spokesperson from PayPal revealed the company’s interest in Pakistan. The same year, the then Minister of IT Anusha Rehman shared plans of the government to invite global tech companies such as PayPal, Ebay and Amazon to Pakistan. However, the international companies reiterated the requirement of a strong legal and financial regulatory framework in the country prior their launch.

Two years later, in 2017, the former Minister of Commerce Khurram Dastagir also indicated that the government was working with the State Bank of Pakistan to bring international payment gateways to the country, including AliPay and PayPal. However, the efforts did not reach a conclusion.

The real challenge for the PTI-led government would not to restart conversation with PayPal but to develop a roadmap for the introduction of PayPal in Pakistan. We know that PayPal will certainly need an insight into data indicators about the demographics, financial inclusion, banked population and market size, along with strong justice and regulatory frameworks pertaining to cyber-crime and financial frauds.

Let us see how the present government deals with PayPal.