Quality assurance, logistics and payment key challenges: Dawood

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister’s Advisor on Commerce and Investment, Abdul Razak Dawood Friday said that quality assurance and logistics and payment are three key challenges to meet the requirements of Amazon.

"A sea of opportunity has opened for us but challenges still exist. Logistic companies like TCS, Leopard, Cheeta, etc, have to work with speed and efficiently," he added.

Another challenge is quality assurance, ie, standardization which implies that the buyer should get the same quality of product which was displayed on the website.

"Amazon has its own quality controls and if any customer complains, the name of exporter will be blacklisted," he continued.

Razak Dawood stated that the government has to train Pakistani sellers as to how to use the system of Amazon. He said another challenge is payment against the supply of goods. According to Commerce Ministry, Amazon is a consumer centric market place, therefore customer reviews and satisfaction levels are extremely important. B2C and B2B2C cross border e-Commerce is a new form of business that will now become popular in Pakistan.

Sharing the details, at a press conference, Abdul Razak Dawood said the Cabinet had approved E-Commerce Policy in October 2019, after which Commerce Ministry started work on it.

Commerce Ministry constituted a National E-Commerce Council which was comprised of all stakeholders. The Council has held four or five meetings during which the issues of payments were discussed in detail.

One of the key demands of sellers was that the government should help them open the platform to Amazon so that they can export Pakistani products.

Commerce Ministry immediately started work on it, and Amazon enquired about standards/qualities of Pakistani products. Amazon approved only 40 Pakistani exporters for business through it.

Amazon has allowed the Pakistani government to announce on their behalf that Pakistani sellers can use their platform, which implies that a new platform will open for Pakistani exports especially for the new breed of young men and women entrepreneurs, who can use this platform. Dawood said Amazon will be opening seller's registration of Pakistani companies very soon. He said it is a big opportunity for Pakistani companies including the SMEs to use the platform of Amazon to connect with the global market and export their products.

Dawood said the private sector logistics companies have an opportunity to scale up businesses and develop international partnerships for effective delivery. He said Pakistan Post has automation and is preparing itself for parcel deliveries.

A Joint Secretary of Commerce Ministry, Aisha Humaira said that State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has worked with Amazon to make payments swiftly. After every 15 days the amount would be credited in the sellers account. The product sold through Amazon will be liable to get payments on fortnightly basis. Amazon will have rating of sellers and if they sell spurious products the account will be blocked automatically.

Amazon's annual sale is $ 300-400 billion per annum. Amazon's 3P model serves brand owners while 1P model is for mass producers who want to produce for Amazon brand items. Dawood further stated that Commerce Ministry alone cannot fulfill this responsibility. Pakistani embassies, ambassadors and Commercial Counselor to Los Angles extended unprecedented support.

Responding to a question, regarding FBR's notices to IT Companies exporting their products, Razak Dawood said that he has discussed this issue with Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin with a view to avoid such a situation for the IT companies.—MUSHTAQ GHUMMAN