e-Commerce or Digital Commerce in Bangladesh
Digital Commerce Policy
The government formulated the Digital Commerce Policy to build a digital Bangladesh and bring digital services to the people’s doorsteps safely and reliably. On one side, this policy has protected the consumer, ensured consumer rights, and on the other hand, has paved the way for the development of online business in the country through balanced competition. Now from students to homemakers, from unemployed to employees, many are leaning towards digital commerce. Some have set an excellent example of success.
Issues covered in the Digital Commerce Policy
* Digital commerce organizations must comply with the existing provisions regarding consumer rights, accurate description of the products presented for sale on the e-commerce site and the quality of the product, return of the product sold according to the rules of digital commerce organization, refund, display terms Has built confidence in commerce.
* Initiatives to implement interbank and mobile financial services (MFS), digital financial services (DFS) transactions in all banks, the launch of ‘ESCROW Service’ for the security of digital commerce-related payments, banking and mobile banking, pre-paid Real-time fund transfers with all payment methods, including cards, connected to the National Payment Switch, Travelers Quota and online for legally expanding international online card-based transactions.
* The Central Digital Commerce Cell of the concerned ministry or department will take action against all cyber-crimes related to digital commerce, including piracy, hacking, internet banking, mobile banking, etc. They will also be responsible for identifying existing and emerging risks, including management and supervision.
* Misuse of financial transactions in e-payment systems, financial institutions, clearinghouses, and law enforcement agencies will take necessary steps to identify fraud in coordination with the Central Digital Commerce Cell.
* Misuse of financial transactions in e-payment system, financial institutions in case of fraud detection, clearinghouse, and law enforcement agencies will take necessary action in coordination with the Central Digital Commerce Cell.
Overall, 60 short, medium, and long term tasks have been identified in the Digital Commerce Policy Action Plan. These are divided into 14 thematic objectives and the initial implementing agencies and the expected results are mentioned.
According to the proposal, the government has taken various initiatives to build information and communication technology infrastructure, develop human resources, establish e-governance, and develop the IT industry through the construction of ‘Digital Bangladesh’. Mobile technology is playing a very helpful role in this.
Currently, the country is covered by 3-G network and 4-G network has already been launched. It is to be noted that by setting up Union Digital Centers across the country, ICT network connectivity has brought marginalized people under the purview of e-services and mobile banking.
Government support to keep e-commerce dynamic during the Corona Crisis
- The government was aware of this from the beginning. On the one hand, SOPs have been created for the delivery persons of e-commerce organizations from the ICT Division. On the other hand, the supply and transportation of food, medicine, and emergency goods have been sanctioned from the beginning of the public holiday, which restricted the people’s movement.
- Later, especially during the month of Ramadan, many people prefer to eat the food prepared by the restaurant for Iftar and Sehri. For these reasons, Food delivery services have been approved. In this way, the buyers got the food of their choice sitting at home. The restaurants have got the opportunity to keep their kitchens open.
- Some organizations have got the opportunity to recruit new workers from the villages with special permission. The E-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (E-CAB) said that its member companies had provided 20,000 delivery vehicles across the country. An estimation can be known about how many products these 20,000 vehicles supply every day to keep the life line running. The government gave special permission to operate these vehicles.
- During Eid-ul-Fitr, the government allowed the sale of clothing, gazettes, and electronics products in compliance with health regulations. At that time, at least 50,000 people in Dhaka took these services every day from home. For the same reason, garment-based e-commerce, gazette retailers, and electronics retailers have been able to return to business. Its impact on the country’s economy is visible.
- Because of the corona, on the one hand, the mango growers were worried, and on the other hand, the buyers were worried whether they would be able to eat chemical-free mangoes. The e-Cab and Ministry of Commerce have taken the initiative of online “AM Mela” to stand by the mango garden owners, and on the other hand, online companies have got the opportunity to sell alternative products. Thus, the government’s prompt decisions and various government agencies have helped keep the digital economy afloat.
- When the experimental and complete lockdown was announced in two areas of the city, daily services were provided to 100,000 families every day under the direct supervision of the E-Commerce Association. It was 100% complaint-free. As the product’s quality was right, the price was also controlled, and the service was also provided on time. The number of online orders in these areas later tripled.
- Usually, in our country, there is a massive crowd at the cattle market during Eid-ul-Azha. It is tough to maintain social distance here. At this time, the sale of animals on various platforms across the country began. According to the report of e-Cab, 26,000 sacrificial animals have been sold online, which has created a record and milestone in online cattle market history. Home delivery of slaughtered cows and meat processing has received wide acclaim from buyers. The government has given extraordinary encouragement to the people in this regard. The manpower of different government levels has done a lot of work in this regard so that the common people can buy animals online.
- Last year, the onion price went up due to sudden negative news about onion imports. The same thing happened this year. It is heard that onion import from nearby sources has been stopped without any prior indication. The price of onion began to rise. Simultaneously, the government took immediate action and decided to sell onions online at Tk 38, which was Tk. 90 in the local market. This reduces the price of onion in the market overnight. In the wholesale market alone, the cost of onion is reduced by Tk 20 in 24 hours. And yet it is declining, and also it didn’t go as close as last year’s price.
- Before Pandemic, where the number of members of the E-Commerce Association was 1000, it came to 1400 in 6 months. The membership grew by about 40%. Perhaps, E-commerce initiatives have grown even more. About 60 lakh direct beneficiaries have been created here. This has been possible due to some positive decisions and swift action taken by the government. This progress was the result of the necessary gradual steps taken by the government.
The challenges of digital commerce at the moment:
- The marginalized people of the village should be made the beneficiaries of digital commerce. Although e-commerce has reached the rural level, its scope has not increased. To ensure this last-mile delivery service, it is necessary to expand the service at the rural level to integrate the e-commerce supply chain and rustic products. Bangladesh Postal Department has already taken some initiatives.
- While the normal growth of e-commerce was 25% per annum, in the case of cross-border e-commerce or export-oriented e-commerce, it was 74%. There is something to be done here. Hopefully, if these are implemented quickly, the Bangladeshi housewife’s flower handkerchief or Nakshikantha will reach foreign buyers’ hands more easily.
- Ensuring an environment for the growth of small digital commerce enterprises proliferating and transforming the ever-adding new consumer into one of the digital commerce industry with the right services.
- Improving the quality of service by integrating all e-commerce platforms and initiatives in the country under a single supply chain and bringing the entire country under the digital commerce network by delivering services to marginal people.
Write up: Jahangir Alam Shovon
English: Fayaz Ferdous Khan
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