PayPal, an international giant in digital money transaction refuses to enter into the Pakistani market owing to several reasons it put forward. This is a huge set back for Pakistan's thriving freelance sector

PayPal is the largest third-party services provider when it comes to international monetary transactions. Not only this service opens up space for the freelancers to get work online but it is also appreciable in the realm of boosting up the country’s economy. Pakistan, however, seems unlucky in getting the fruits of this service.

There were hopes and many IT experts had also predicted that PayPal would operationalise its services in the country in 2019 but the recent meeting between the officials of the Finance Ministry and the PayPal officials concluded in disappointment.

PayPal told the country’s finance officials that it is not yet ready to consider Pakistan as their next business destination providing the reason for lack of business opportunities in the country.

However, it is not the only reason that PayPal is hesitant in coming to Pakistan. Two other factors also influence this decision.

One is Pakistan’s weak standing in FATF owing to massive money laundering. Conscious of its reputation, PayPal is not ready to risk it unless Pakistan would show some positive progress in the FATF case.

The second reason is the regional dynamics. Before Pakistan, PayPal has already initiated its services in India and Bangladesh where it is facing strict government interference. India has compelled its citizens to transfer their money to the Indian Banks instead of keeping it to their PayPal account while Bangladesh has banned its citizens from transferring money abroad. This has negatively impacted PayPal.

However, in any case, PayPal’s refusal to enter into Pakistani market has caused serious damage to the freelance sector of the country. Pakistan is listed as the top 5 countries for freelancers and its freelancing sector is continuously thriving. The aim of providing the freelancers the ease has remained short of fulfilment. But, hope still prevails.

The talks between Pakistan and PayPal are not over yet and the government is hopeful that it would eventually be able to convince the company to start its operations in Pakistan.

Moreover, PayPal reviews the country’s situation every year and the ray of hope is still there that PayPal would rethink its decision. Lastly, the government also needs to take some concrete steps in order to encourage foreign companies to invest in Pakistan.

As the country’s economy is facing tough times and inflation and unemployment are an all-time high, the inclusion of foreign companies into the Pakistani market would not only benefit the government in increasing its foreign exchange reserves but the public especially the freelancers would be able to carve out their profit as well.