The panel will be composed of representatives and experts from the private, academic, IT and e-commerce sectors
The Commerce Ministry will form a new panel that will advise the government on formulating rules to regulate the scandal-ridden local e-commerce sector, while safeguarding the interests of consumers and traders.
The panel will be made up of representatives and experts from the private, academic, IT and e-commerce sectors, alongside government officials, economists, researchers and business analysts.
Although there is an inter-ministerial committee, recommendation from a wider range of stakeholders is needed, Hafizur Rahman, head of the Central Digital Trade Unit at the Ministry of Commerce, told Dhaka Tribune.
The existing committee currently includes representatives from the National Board of Revenue (NBR), the Bangladesh Bank, the Home Office and other regulatory authorities.
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The move follows recent scandals rocked by dubious e-commerce platforms such as Evaly, Eorange, Dhamaka Shopping, Sirajganj Shop and others, which have offered amazing product discounts to customers, but failed. not delivered the products to customers, despite receiving full payment in advance, in most cases.
Speaking to Dhaka Tribune, officials from the Bangladesh Electronic Commerce Association (e-CAB) explained that several bodies and regulatory agencies need to be involved to ensure consumer protection through a framework that has yet to be defined. for the electronic commerce sector.
Relevant agencies include Bangladesh Competition Commission, ICT Division, a2i, National Consumer Rights Protection Directorate, Bangladesh Bank, as well as Ministry of Commerce.
According to e-CAB, a risk factor management committee is also imperative, which will monitor and control the risky behavior of e-commerce platforms, consisting of the Ministry of Public Administration, Department of ICT, Ministry of Commerce, of the Competition Commission, consumer rights. , Bangladesh Bank and others.
AHM Finance Minister Mustafa Kamal also said last week that several regulatory bodies need to be involved in the governance of the sector, as some companies are registered as technology-based, which fall under the ICT wing, A2i of the government.
Registration for the unique BIN will be mandatory
Hafizur Rahman also told Dhaka Tribune that all e-commerce platforms, including Facebook-based businesses, will be subject to a Unique Identification Number (UBIN) program to regulate and monitor the industry.
“Registration will be given after careful inspection of promotional campaigns, customer reviews of products and deliveries, and comments posted by consumers online. Any online platform without UBIN would not be allowed to function. The a2i and the ICT Division have developed software that will allow online registration. We plan to start by the end of this year, ”he added.
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According to the official of the Ministry of Commerce, the Directorate of National Protection of Consumer Rights will suspend the operations of any platform in the event of multiple allegations of harassment of customers against it.
In recent months, the e-commerce industry has been plagued with complaints about product deliveries, prepayments, fraudulent transactions and embezzlement.
Evaly, Eorange, Dhamaka, Sirajganj Shop and more recently PriyoShop have been charged with professional misconduct.
Alesha Mart has also been accused of breaking the recently introduced Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) by offering 50% discounts on products through her own card.
The DNCRP has also released data that identifies the misconduct of these organizations.
Following massive scams in the industry, the Ministry of Commerce has already approved the verification process to protect consumers in the digital market.
However, according to industry insiders, a new regulator will further hamper the ease of doing business.
Waseem Alim, Founder and CEO of Chaldal, in a discussion debated the need for a new regulator and said the current framework is sufficient, if it is just monitored properly.
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Additional regulations will discourage new businesses, he added.
AKM Fahim Mashroor, CEO of Bdjobs Limited, also agreed with Alim and suggested strengthening regulatory bodies such as the central bank.
Earlier, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi told a press conference that the government would start work to form the Electronic Commerce Authority, the Central Complaints Management Unit and the Digital Commerce Act to streamline the the country’s emerging e-commerce activities last Wednesday.