‘Country needs e-commerce policy to boost business’

Staff correspondent

2 June, 2018 12:00 AM printer

As e-commerce business is gradually flourishing, the country needs a platform and adequate digital infrastructures, speakers said at an expo on Friday.

They expressed the opinion while addressing the inaugural function of ‘E-Commerce Promotional Expo’ organised by Platinum Events in association with Daraz.com.

Senior vice-president of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry Kamrul Islam was present as the chief guest while secretary general of the Association of Mobile Telephone Operators of Bangladesh TIM Nurul Kabir as the special guest.

In his address, Kamrul said the country’s e-commerce sector saw 70 percent growth in 2017 and the market size was about Tk 1,000 crore.

He said the e-commerce sector has a huge base here in the country with 85.5 million internet users and about 150 million mobile users.

The size of the e-grocery market is around US$4-5 million though analysts predict that the e-commerce market will surge to US$20 billion by 2020.

Kamrul further said e-commerce market size is still mere 0.7percent of the country’s total retail market.

E-commerce’s contribution to GDP is less than 1 percent and there are around 1,000 e-commerce entrepreneurs in the country. Furthermore, this market witnessed around 20 percent growth in a year, he added.

Currently, this sector employs 50,000 people, but it has a potential to provide employment opportunities to 100,000 people, Kamrul said.

He also cited a statistical data that 80 percent of online users use the internet to make purchase and 50 percent of them use online to purchase products more than once.    

Nurul Kabir said public lifestyle has changed a lot because of having wider internet penetration in the country.

The country’s 60 percent population is young and with this demographic dividend our e-commerce business will surely see a boost in the recent future, he said.

He also said due to lack of proper marketing policy and marketing tool, most of innovative products created by our young entrepreneurs are being lost from the market.

He said our population is our strength because about 80 million people of our country are now using internet where about 15 crore mobile SIM are active.

So, our digital market size is one of the biggest in the world that’s why alibaba.com has recently entered Bangladesh’s market.

He called upon the government to waive tax, VAT and surcharge on e-commerce, internet and computer technology for at least two years to give this sector a change to grow manifold.

For a sustainable e-commerce business network, we have to solve some challenges like supply chain, online store, security and above all a timely policy guideline of an international standard, he added.

Platinum Events CEO Junayet H Khan said the main focus of this expo is on promoting local business based on e-commerce.

He said the scope for expansion of e-commerce in the country is truly huge.