E-commerce companies run without guideline as lockdown begins

Jannatul Islam

6 April, 2021 12:00 AM printer

E-commerce companies in Bangladesh, which are expected to witness a peak in business during this second lockdown, lack a specific guideline for their operation.

During the general holidays and lock-down imposed last year, the Ministry of Commerce and the E-commerce Association of Bangladesh (Ecab) introduced a guideline for the country’s e-commerce operation.

However, there is no such guideline issued for their operation at the time of this second countrywide lockdown which began on Monday.

The government has announced a seven-day countrywide lockdown as the infection rates are rising rapidly. 

The e-commerce is a business model that lets firms and individuals buy and sell things over the internet.

E-cab Finance Secretary Muhammad Abdul Haque said the trade body has sent a letter to the Ministry of Commerce mentioning 15 points to ensure smooth operations of online shopping during the lockdown.

“Ecab President met with Commerce Secretary Dr Zafar Uddin. There will be a meeting on the e-commerce operations on Tuesday morning. Decisions may come (from the meeting),” Abdul Haque told the Daily Sun.

According to the E-cab, there are over 1,500 leading e-commerce outlets in the country while thousands of digital commerce ventures opened using Facebook platform.

Industry insiders said the infrastructure for the e-commerce has get a shape during the general holidays last year as the public-private entities came under a guideline.

Former President of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) Fahim Mashroor said although the grocery-based companies made profits during the general holidays last year, others didn’t perform well.

“But this year, the situation is different,” he said.

“If the connectivity to the capital remains flexible for the logistic firms, the e-commerce companies will get a peak ahead of the festive season,” Mashroor, also the chief executive at AkjerDeal, told the Daily Sun.

The logistic industry, considered as the main driver of ecommerce industry, has expanded upto union level as many home-grown companies made market entry.

The tech-focused logistic venture PaperFly chief marketing officer Rahath Ahmed said the ecommerce sector was more matured comparing to early days of general holidays last year.

“In collaboration with ICT Division and E-cab, we formulated a guideline for maintaining operations of e-commerce companies during general holidays last year. We are following the existing regulation to run the business,” Rahath Ahmed told the Daily Sun.

He also said the e-commerce companies were capable of taking the product to anywhere else in the country.

Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) estimated around 166 percent growth in e-commerce business in 2020 and the market E-commerce that thrives during the pandemic is expected to reach $3 billion by 2023.