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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Govt eyes expanding e-commerce industry contribution to economy

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THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it plans to inflate the contribution of the electronic commerce (e-commerce) industry to 5.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), as it eyes to take advantage of the shift to digital during the state-imposed strict lockdown measures.

Under the Philippine e-Commerce Roadmap 2022, the contribution of digital transactions to the economy is seen to rise to P1.2 trillion by 2022, from P599 billion last year. As such, this means the e-commerce industry is expected to take up 5.5 percent of GDP, from 3.4 percent in 2020.

Likewise, the road map projects there would be 1 million firms engaged in online selling by next year, from roughly 500,000 last year.

Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said the DTI is banking on the transition to digital as caused by the mobility restrictions to boost transactions done in online platforms. As the health crisis prevented people from leaving their houses, the e-commerce industry saw the opportunity to deliver goods and services with just the click on a phone.

At the launching of the road map last Friday, Lopez reported there are now 93,318 online sellers registered with the DTI; bulk of these enterprises was recorded during the lockdown beginning March last year.

According to Lopez, online business registration has already hit 93,318 for the month of January. “This is a clear indication of Filipino resilience as many of our countrymen adapted to the challenging times,” Lopez said.

Under the new road map, the DTI is focusing on educating online retailers on the values of speed, security and structure, with which, when combined, should equate to sales.

“As our economy recovers from the pandemic, we can harness the fast-growing e-commerce in the country to boost our economic growth. We’ve already seen how e-commerce has come to our rescue—and was ready to fill the void left by brick and mortar businesses unable to serve our people—because of the lockdowns,” Lopez explained.

The road map also seeks to bring the Philippines to the upper half of the Business to Consumer E-Commerce Index by this year, and to the top one-third of the measure by next year, with the action plans and strategies the government is planning to enforce.

Trade Assistant Secretary Mary Jean T. Pacheco disclosed the DTI was able to implement at least 70 percent, or 30, of the 53 agenda items listed in the e-commerce road map for 2016 to 2020. Pacheco said the DTI has taken action on 13 of these items while three are awaiting trigger events.

In the new road map, the government looks to improve infrastructure on information technology to encourage individuals to transact online, as well as initiate build logistics and convergence programs to accelerate service delivery.

The government also eyes to speed up initiatives to upgrade business registration and license renewal, and plans to streamline rules and regulations for conducting operations. Authorities will also introduce changes to the dispute settlement procedures to show to consumers that the e-commerce industry can be trusted.

For Pacheco, these efforts will only work if the government takes a “whole-of-body” approach to improving the e-commerce landscape.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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