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Dhaka Tribune

Government finalizes initiatives to standardize the e-commerce sector

The ICT Ministry, through a2i, has already started to develop software for Complaint Management System (UBID) which is ready for beta testing to be launched for everyone by March.

Update : 21 Jan 2022, 12:53 AM

The government has finalized its initiatives to standardize the growing e-commerce sector by incubating an ecosystem that counters unsustainable business models through accountability.

In attempts at standardization, the government working through its multiple ministries is set to introduce mandatory Unique Business Identification (UBID) for all e-commerce, f-commerce businesses, a Central Complaint Management System (CCMS), an interoperable transaction platform, as well as a Central Logistics Tracking Platform (CLTP).

Hafizur Rahman, chief of the Central Digital Commerce Cell at the Ministry of Commerce, told Dhaka Tribune that registration for UBID will be given after careful inspection of promotional campaigns, customer reviews on products and deliveries, and feedback posted by consumers online. 

“Any online platform without UBIN will not be allowed to operate. We are almost done with our part and are currently waiting for the completion of a2i’s side of things and the ICT division. This will bring standardization to the industry and give consumers the power to differentiate between businesses that indulge in bad practices from those that are good,” the Commerce Ministry official said.

“The use of AI, software and capacity enhancements will help regulatory bodies to identify absurd transaction patterns and alert authorities quickly if implemented properly. What takes weeks or even months for humans to analyze can be easier to process for AI which can identify discrepancies easily,” Basis President Syed Almas Kabir explained.

The ICT Ministry, through a2i, has already started to develop software for UBID which is ready for beta testing to be launched for everyone by March. 

It is also working to launch CCMS for settling grievances from February and the inter-operable transaction platform ‘Binimoy’ from March.

“Those who are doing online businesses will also come under the law and if there is any complaint through any registered organization, it has to be settled through CCMS, bringing back trust, credibility, and transparency in the digital business through technology,” ICT State Minister Junaid Ahmed Palak said in a press briefing on Wednesday. 

UBID number can be obtained from the website ‘mygov.bd’, which will aid the government to locate businesses that are operating even from Facebook. 

CCMS as a centralized system will register complaints in collaboration with the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection to settle grievances, and Binimoy will allow the flow of money from the wallet to the bank to the vendors. 

According to Hafizur Rahman, the Directorate of National Consumers' Rights Protection will suspend operations of any platform if there are multiple allegations of customer harassment against them.

"Mobile financial service provider Bkash and 15 other banks have already signed up for the platform which will eventually automate credit rating, credit scoring in the future. CLTP will also be launched later,” said Palak.

It will help the digital payment ecosystem and future development and growth of e-commerce according to e-CAB Vice president Shahabuddin.

According to the e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh’s (e-CAB) earlier proposal CTMS or CLTP was advised to be speared by the Bangladesh Post Office and the Post and Telecom Division was supposed to deliver this platform but has not been able to make progress and is expected to be ready in the next six months.

“CLTP/CTMS is a centralized effort to bring vendors, payment gateways, and delivery partners under one platform, if implemented, this will bring back a sense of control to the consumers of the sector who are facing huge trust issues in ordering online, and bring back discipline to the sector that has been plagued by rogue e-commerce platforms through accountability,” the e-CAB official told Dhaka Tribune.

According to e-CAB, official reports, and industry insiders, online sales rose about 70% in 2020 from 2019, and the market size of the industry stood at nearly $2 billion as of August 2020.

Uddin estimates that the valuation of the sector in 2021 might have crossed Tk20,000 crore, which is about $2.32 billion. 

By 2023, the market is predicted to reach a size of $3 billion.


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