Tuesday, 19 October, 2021

Reckless e-commerce platforms confuse regulators

Reckless e-commerce platforms confuse regulators

E-commerce companies have become reckless due to the lack of a legal framework to curb fraudulence in the sector as the regulatory offices are busy in the formation of committees on the same issues.

The commerce ministry has formed a sub-committee to explore the possibilities of new law e-commerce comprising five existing laws relate to the sector, a top official has informed.

“We never said that a law will not be formed. But we are working to formulate a law in light of the existing laws. The existing law on consumer rights and competition commission is under our ministry. A sub-committee will report on the issue next month,” AHM Shafiquzzaman, additional secretary of commerce ministry, told the Daily Sun on Thursday.

Over the last three months, the ministry of commerce formed at least three committees to find out ways to solve the problems involving several e-commerce scams, sources informed Daily Sun.

On September 27, the ministry formulated a 16-member committee headed by an additional secretary to draft the law and form an independent authority for the e-commerce sector.

Within a week, the committee created another subcommittee to assess the necessity of a new law as a new law takes more than one year to enact.

The E-commerce Association of Bangladesh (E-Cab) is the trade body in the sector.

“There will not be any regulatory body. The committee will discuss the formulation of a law to bring transparency in e-commerce sector,” Mohammad Abdul Haque, finance secretary at E-Cab, told the Daily Sun.

At a meeting of the Export Promotion Burro (EPB) recently, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi expressed his surprise as eOrange was running businesses without approval from the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms (RJSC). He hinted that the government is planning to have an independent body to regulate the e-commerce sector.

However, the decision later shifted to the formation of a new law amid criticism from different quarters.  Industry insiders said the e-commerce companies will get more scope to commit fraudulence in absence of a law.   

The e-commerce sector has been rattled with scams in different modes as many companies launched digital business ventures without approval from the government, officials said.

The e-commerce scams came to light when the media reported on the controversial ponzi schemes of Evaly and some other e-commerce platforms last year.

Several committees were formed led by the commerce ministry after Bangladesh Bank found anomalies in financial transactions of some e-commerce platforms.