Finance Minister Asad Umar on Monday rubbished reports that the federal government is impeding PayPal’s entry into the Pakistani market, claiming that it is actually “chasing” the online payments giant.
Umar, while speaking at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Peshawar, was asked if his ministry or any other federal institution was against PayPal expanding its operations into Pakistan.
“What you’ve been told about PayPal is completely wrong,” the finance minister told the reporter who had raised the query.
“PayPal is neither stuck at my desk, nor the State Bank, nor any other government institution. The situation is actually reverse. We are [actually] chasing PayPal. I took this even though this issue is not directly related to me,” he said.
“I know that this is a fantastic source for the employment of our youth, our boys and girls who work from their homes. The nonavailability of PayPal or any other effective online payment system causes them a lot of problems. This is why I took the initiative myself and had a message sent to the PayPal chief executive officer and told him that, ‘This is such an important issue, if you want, I can fly to the US myself and meet you’. We have made contact with them and initiated a dialogue with them.”
Umar said that in addition to his efforts to bring PayPal to Pakistan, he is working on another online payment system.
“After PayPal, the second [biggest online payment system] in the world is AliPay, whose subsidiary is Ant Financial. This Ant Financial has acquired the majority shares of Telenor Bank, which previously used to be Tameer Bank. In my talks with them, they have assured me that among their first few projects will be an online payment system. So that [is also on the table] but we will keep on chasing PayPal as well.”
In Nov 2015, the IT Ministry had announced that it was set to invite global online payment giants PayPal and Alibaba to offer their services in Pakistan. It remains unclear whether the invitation was officially advanced and what the duo’s responses were.