• Wednesday, Oct 21, 2020
  • Last Update : 04:37 pm

E-commerce stakeholders worried by logistical challenges

  • Published at 01:45 am September 20th, 2020
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They call for a strong e-commerce policy and sound delivery systems to ensure better services

Logistical challenges are going to make it difficult to develop the e-commerce industry in Bangladesh, stakeholders of the industry have said.

They also emphasized the need for strong e-commerce policy and sound delivery systems to ensure better services for consumers and protection from fraud.

The remarks were made during the virtual inauguration of an event titled “Post COVID-19: Challenges & Opportunities for Entrepreneurship and Employment in e-Commerce in Bangladesh” on Saturday. The event was organized by France Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIFB) in collaboration with Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) and the e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB)

Topics discussed by the panellists at the event included the development of e-commerce industry both domestically and internationally, e-commerce readiness assessment and strategy formulation, ICT  infrastructure and services, trade logistics and trade facilitation, payment solutions, relevant legal and regulatory frameworks, e-commerce skill development and access to financing.

In his opening remarks, CCIFB President Syed Mahmudul Huq said: “The present Covid-19 crisis has resulted in unprecedented economic disruptions, with negative fallout on production processes and trade related activities. These prompted the industry to seek e-trade solutions and greater utilization of IT and digital techniques for ensuring sustained economic activities including trade and job creation.” 

He also said Bangladesh e-commerce, by strengthening its links to the agriculture, manufacturing and services industries, offers significant opportunities in innovation, entrepreneurship and employment generation, and could become a key driver for our economic growth.  

Muhammad Abdul Wahed Tomal, secretary general of e-CAB, said the current e-commerce market in Bangladesh stands at $2.77 billion and it will soon rise to $3.77 billion. 

He emphasized the need for coordinated and planned efforts from a2i, the e-commerce cell and BIDA to ensure ease of doing business and facilitate the further expansion of freelancing and out-sourcing businesses.  

Daraz Bangladesh Limited Managing Director Syed Mostahidal Hoq pleaded for the issuance of trade licenses for e-commerce traders working from home and a VAT rate that would promote e-Commerce.

Jarjis Imam, Global Leader for Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud Computing Services and Automation Engineering Practice, spoke on cloud technology, Big Data and Amazon's approach to e-commerce and their possible applications in Bangladesh. 

Mohammad Aminul Hakim, president of the Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh, discussed challenges that ISP companies face and also some of the policy issues that need to be addressed to develop the country’s ICT infrastructure in a way that supports e-commerce. 

“Logistics are an integral part and challenge of e commerce businesses and this is one of the major areas that needs to be addressed in terms of policy and  the technical aspects,” said Mahbubul Anam, former president of Bangladesh Freight Forwarders Association.

He emphasized cross border e-commerce and paperless trade policy, as well as possible ways to address logistical issues. 

“The government has already formulated the National Digital Commerce Policy and launched its own satellite, Bangabandhu Satellite –1, to expedite the realization of Digital Bangladesh,” he said, mentioning that Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi assured of the full support of the government for the development of e-commerce in Bangladesh in line with Vision 2021. 

“The current volume of world e-Commerce is $3.5 trillion and it is expected to reach $4.5 trillion in 2021. It has huge potential for Bangladesh,” he added. 

Executive Chairman of BIDA Sirazul Islam appreciated the recommendations made by the speakers in the webinar and assured his full support for ease of doing business and creating a favourable environment for investments in the e-commerce sector.

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