Lack of scope of online payment from bank accounts, non-acceptance of online payment through banks’ debit cards for online purchase and high internet price are hindering growth of e-commerce business in the country, speakers at a discussion on Tuesday said.
They came up with the statement while addressing a workshop on ‘E-Commerce in Bangladesh : Opportunities and Challenges’ organised by Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry at its office in the city.
North South University economics research platform project director Nuheen Khan presented a keynote paper on ‘E-Commerce in Bangladesh : A Story of Adoption and Success’.
Stressing on the importance of high speed internet at an affordable price for the growth of e-commerce business, Nuheen Khan said that a comparative study showed that the existing mobile phone operators in the country were providing internet
at lower price in other countries where they are present rather than in Bangladesh.
Speaking about the issue, Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services director Mostafizur Rahaman Sohel said, ‘Although the government reduced bandwidth price drastically since 2009, the price of data and bandwidth has been remaining high.’
‘It’s the internet service providers and telecom companies who provide service to the customers who were manipulating those things,’ he said.
Mentioning lack of payment infrastructure as one of the major bottlenecks, Nuheen Kahn said that debit cards must be allowed to use for online payments as a tiny number of bank account-holders have credit cards.
Besides, opening online payment from all accounts could be another solution to get rid of the payment problem for the e-commerce business, he said.
Mentioning a number of initiatives carried out by the central bank to ease e-commerce business, central bank joint director Akhlak Uz Zaman said that there were separate platforms for payments—one for large-scale payment and another for small-scale payment—and it depends on the proprietors which platform they were going to use.
He also suggested for ensuring quality of goods which were traded through different e-commerce sites as serving poor quality product may create distrust among the consumers.
Talking about the delivery channel problem, Nuheen said that post offices can do a job in this regard.
FBCCI director and E-CAB advisor Shomi Kaiser said, ‘Although the post offices started pilot projects— two in Dhaka and another one outside Dhaka—the progress is not that satisfactory.’
She also called on the postal authorities to act promptly and proactively.
FBCCI acting secretary general Hussain Jamil presided over the discussion where Fredric Nieman Foundation country representative Najmul Hossain, among others, were present.
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