E-commerce sector lacks accountability: Stakeholders

FE REPORT | Sunday, 19 September 2021

Despite huge expansion of the country's e-commerce sector in recent times, the sector still lacks accountability due to the absence of a proper legal framework, said speakers at a programme on Saturday.

They also said it was imperative to take legal actions against the unscrupulous e-commerce operators and compensate the cheated clients for the sake of this budding sector.

They were speaking at a session, titled 'Government's role in preventing anarchy in the e-commerce sector', following a mock parliamentary debate contest.

The Debate for Democracy (DfD) organised both the events in the city on the day, a statement said.

Former president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce & Industries (FBCCI) AK Azad attended the session as the chief guest, while the DfD Chairman Hasan Ahmed Chowdhury Kiron presided over the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, A K Azad said some dishonest businesses were robbing common people in the guise of e-commerce business as the country lacked a comprehensive legal framework.

"All the operators, who deceived people using the e-commerce model, should be penalised," he said, underscoring the need for compensating the clients who lost their money.

Since the e-commerce operators lured people with attractive packages, many people sought investment opportunities there as an alternative to banks, said the former FBCCI president.

He also said the number of defaulters with the state-owned banks was increasing gradually whereas the international banks operating in the country had a lower amount of defaulted loans.

The entire financial sector might face a debacle unless good governance and accountability are established in the banking sector, said the businessman.

Mr Azad also highlighted the need for employment generation and skill development, and enhancing the quality of education.

DfD Chairman Hasan Ahmed Chowdhury Kiron said currently e-commerce companies in the country were registered as Information Technology Services or ITES as there was no provision for them to register as per the country's Companies Act, Trade License Act or Income Tax Act.

He also said available data revealed that almost one-third of e-commerce companies suspended their businesses without any announcement.

"The issue (of fraudulence activities) comes to the fore after the recent arrest of Evaly CEO Russel and his wife," said Mr Kiron.

In bid to establish discipline in the e-commerce sector, the DfD presented a set of recommendations, for instance, introducing a new law, forming a commission to examine the current state, and taking time-befitting measures.

It also asked the government to take necessary actions to compensate the customers who were trapped by the operators.

The DfD also urged the E-commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB) not to allow the deceitful companies and their kingpins in the trade body.

During a debating competition earlier in the day, a team of the BGMEA University of Fashion and Technology came out victorious defeating Eastern University.

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