Government finalizes initiatives to standardize e-commerce industry

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

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

Hafizur Rahman, head of the central digital commerce unit at the Ministry of Commerce, told Dhaka Tribune that UBID registration will be granted after careful inspection of promotional campaigns, customer reviews of products and deliveries, and reviews posted by consumers online.

“Any online platform without UBIN will not be allowed to operate. We have almost completed our part and are currently awaiting the finalization of the a2i part and the ICT division. This will bring standardization to the industry and give consumers the power to differentiate companies that engage in bad practices from those that are good,” the Commerce Department official said.

“Using AI, software and capacity enhancements will help regulators identify absurd trading patterns and quickly alert authorities if they are properly implemented. months to be analyzed by humans may be easier to process for AI, which can easily identify discrepancies,” explained base chairman Syed Almas Kabir.

The Ministry of ICT through a2i has already started developing software for UBID which is ready for beta testing which will be launched for everyone by March.

It is also working on the launch of the CCMS for grievance redress from February and the interoperable transaction platform “Binimoy” from March.

“Those who do business online will also be subject to the law and if there is a complaint through a registered organization, it must be resolved by CCMS, bringing back trust, credibility and transparency in digital commerce through technology,” ICT State Minister Junaid Ahmed Palak said during a press briefing on Wednesday.

The UBID number can be obtained from the “mygov.bd” website, which will help the government locate companies that even operate from Facebook.

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

According to Hafizur Rahman, the National Directorate of Consumer Rights Protection will suspend the 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 scoring, credit scoring in the future. CLTP will also be launched later,” said Palak.

According to Shahabuddin, Vice President of e-CAB, this will help the digital payment ecosystem and the future development and growth of e-commerce.

According to earlier proposal of e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB), CTMS or CLTP was advised to be initiated by Bangladesh Post and Post and Telecommunications Division was supposed to provide this platform but has not been able to progress and should be ready within the next six months.

“CLTP/CTMS is a centralized effort to bring together providers, payment gateways and delivery partners under one platform. If implemented, it will restore a sense of control to consumers in the industry who are facing huge trust issues when ordering online, and bringing discipline back to the industry that has been plagued by rogue e-commerce platforms through accountability,” the head of the e-CAB at the Dhaka Tribune.

According to e-CAB, official reports and industry insiders, online sales increased by around 70% in 2020 compared to 2019, and the market size of the industry stood at nearly 2 billion dollars in August 2020.

Uddin estimates that the valuation of the sector in 2021 could have exceeded Tk 20,000 crore, or about $2.32 billion.

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

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