The neglected tools that can enhance exports and GDP
Emerging technologies have revolutionised trade and commerce. In fact, information technology is now the driving-force in many different fields. The economies of developed and developing countries through the use of technology, system automation and process improvement has made tremendous progress.
With the proper use of system automations in public and private sectors all over the world, manufacturers have saved precious time, capital and human resources which were later used for productive and important activities to strengthen their economies. Use of information technology has significantly improved the financial status of employers and employees in public and private sectors all over the world.
All public-sector departments including health, education, administration, defense and airports are providing their best and most efficient services to people based on advanced information technology. Similarly, all private services, goods providers and manufacturers are using information technology to produce cost effective, accurate and high-quality products and services.
For this purpose, manufacturers and businessmen have developed websites to introduce specialties and products and get unlimited access to international markets.
They are successfully selling their products and services to international corporate and retail customers. For this purpose, bankless automated payment transactions are done globally without any manual interventions and this process is successfully working and generating profit for employers.
Some famous international E-commerce giant groups like Amazon, Alibaba, Walmart, Otto, JD, Priceline, eBay, Rakuten, Zalando and GroupOn began from zero and are currently generating huge profits with the proper and efficient use of technology. This is benefitting their economies and increasing their GDP and revenue. This has proved that business websites and e-commerce are the best tools to introduce products and services in international markets and are attracting buyers on the basis of good quality, price and advanced technology.
Famous international E-commerce giant groups like Amazon, Alibaba, Walmart, Otto, JD, Priceline, eBay, Rakuten, Zalando and GroupOn began from zero and are currently generating huge profits with proper and efficient use of technology.
Unfortunately, in Pakistan the majority of goods and service providers and exporters in the private sector are unaware of the use and benefits of E-commerce. However, at the public-sector level the government has started using technology and online payment systems. This is needed to effect improvements by making it more efficient, transparent and user friendly.
We also need to facilitate the end users. In the private sector, our businessmen and manufacturers have very good sales at the domestic level while some mega business groups have access to international markets on manual contract basis or on their websites. But many small and medium enterprises, entrepreneurs and exporters are still reluctant to use modern marketing techniques and end to end online sales. This is due to a lack of knowledge and unavailability of genuine and competitive service providers.
According to Economic Survey of Pakistan, although the manufacturing sector is the second largest contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with average of 13.5 percent, there is still a persistent decline in our exports. This decline is causing an increase in deficit of the Trade and Balance of Payments. Forget about other reasons of this decline, if we motivate and facilitate our manufacturers, businessmen and exporters to use advanced online marketing, sales tools, and e-commerce, this can really help increase the overall sale at the domestic level. It can also double our exports.
The world’s large-scale, small and medium scale enterprises and even at a lower level, product and service providers are using these means for their businesses. This is a single time investment and it is very convenient to manage. For this to become mainstream we have to mobilise our business communities and convince them to use online marketing and sales channels.
Social sector can also play a very effective role in this regard. At the government level we also need to implement swift and secure online debit and credit card payment systems. This can encourage users for online hassle-free transactions. One more benefit of safe and secure online transaction systems is that it can reduce the pressure of walk-in customers in commercial bank branches for internal and external transfers and utility bill payments.
Secondly, we need to introduce strict brand registration and product quality systems at the public and private sector level. This will enable our entrepreneurs to compete with international competitors and standardised the quality of products and services.
Attractive and user-friendly websites is very important for any type of business. Website development is basically a single time investment which can easily introduce product and services globally without any further expenses. We only need to facilitate and motivate all entrepreneurs to use this tool whether they are working at a large or small-scale level. With some additional features on the same websites we can complete online sales and purchase payment processes.
The need of the hour is that we should arrange awareness and training programs for all small and medium enterprises in Pakistan on an urgent basis. SMEs and exporters should learn and adopt these modern techniques which will eventually increase the sale and exports in Pakistan. Collaboration of all Chamber of Commerce and Industries and social sector is the best channel that can be used to motivate and encourage. This can be done by arranging training workshops and seminars in the major industrial cities in Pakistan. Successful orientation and training programs about the importance of websites and use of e-commerce can easily increase exports.
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The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or stance of SDPI.