Ejaz is a graduate student who resides in Karachi and works as a freelancer. He started freelancing after watching one of his friends earn money through internet. He was impressed by the idea and today works as a partner with that friend. In the future Ejaz is thinking of extending their freelancing business and turning it into an IT outsourcing company. However, a hurdle in his path is the lack of Paypal e-commerce system in Pakistan.
According to Elance, a freelancing website, Pakistan is ranked fourth in the top Freelancing country list. Most of the freelancers who work in Pakistan use Elance, Freelancer or Odesk to get projects from their clients. The projects are mostly based on coding, graphical and content writing work for software applications and websites. These local freelancers are paid through check, western union, wire services or bank transfers unlike their counterparts in India and America who are paid through Paypal.
PayPal is an international e-commerce business allowing payments and money transfers to be made through the Internet as is stated on Wikipedia. The ecommerce business works just like an online bank from where account holders can send and receive money and transfer it to their bank. However, Ejaz says that, ‘Paypal is not available in Pakistan and most of the job posters do not award him job because they cannot pay by means of other services.’
Another freelancer Mohtashim who works as a wordpress coder in an IT company says that all those freelancers who have a relative abroad can get a paypal account as Paypal is banned in Pakistan. He explains that the paypal needs a residential address and a tax slip for verification without which an applicant cannot register an account. When he was asked how he receives his money, he says that his relative has opened an account for him in UK. Paypal sends the money to the UK bank account and from there it is transferred to his bank account in Pakistan.
While an advisor of Paypal on its help center says that ‘Each country has different rules and regulations concerning the use of transaction processing services including services like PayPal.’ They say that the transaction rules and regulations restrict them from offering their services in Pakistan.
A blogger Usman Shahzada also writes the same on his blog. He states that, ‘the State Bank of Pakistan has set certain rules and conditions for the company that restricts it from offering its services to Pakistanis even though the Company had sorted the deal with Ministry of IT.’
Same is the case with Ebay, where most Pakistani’s cannot buy or sell products. Najia Salman, another blogger highlights that, ‘most Ebay sellers use Paypal as it is a secure service. However, there are some who also use Moneybookers or skrill.’ But Najia says that Pakistani’s can only buy products. They cannot sell back on Ebay because the payment system used by Ebay is Paypal, which is not available in Pakistan.
A simple solution to such a problem, in Ejaz’s opinion is that the Pakistani Government should remove the restrictions for the Company so that local freelancers can take benefit from it. After all, he points that, all this revenue freelancers earn is adding up in the government inventory, making it stronger. ‘Restricting these facilities is just like restricting the people from availing opportunities accessible online.’ He adds.Sources: Ejaz Ali – Freelancer and SEO