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Getting with the times

  • Published at 12:00 am August 26th, 2019
E-commerce_digitalization
Photo: BIGSTOCK

Inefficient logistics and limited access to finance are also major challenges

With the promise of remaking the country under its Digital Bangladesh manifesto, the current administration has done quite a lot to push Bangladesh further into the digital sphere.

No longer is our country sitting on the sidelines when it comes to enjoying the benefits of advancing digital infrastructure -- from ride-sharing to online shopping, Bangladesh is now relatively on-par with the rest of the world when it comes to e-commerce.

Despite all the progress we’ve made, the lack of proper policy and the numerous hurdles when it comes to attaining trade licenses are posing major challenges in helping this burgeoning sector truly reach its potential.

The crux of these issues can be chalked up to the fact that, in the existing trade policy, e-commerce is outlined not under the category of business but under information technology, which voids it from being entitled to trade licenses.

This is a major problem.

What’s more, inefficient logistics -- when it comes to taking and making good on deliveries at home and abroad -- and limited access to finance are also major challenges that stand to impede the sector’s progress, a sector that is worth Tk1,800 crore.

If existing policies are not amended to incorporate e-commerce into mainstream business, the sector could end up dying a premature death. Given the fantastic growth we have been witnessing over the last few years, this could end up setting us back to a great degree.

The future is very much digital, and the government has proven that it possesses the gumption to propel Bangladesh into that digital future -- but we will never truly achieve that vision if we don’t get with the times and change our archaic trade policies.