The Financial Express

Separate regulator to govern e-commerce business

| Updated: September 26, 2021 20:58:33

- Picture used for illustrative purpose - Picture used for illustrative purpose

The government is going to constitute a separate regulatory authority to govern the country's e-commerce business and bring discipline in this area.

An inter-ministerial meeting on Wednesday suggested bringing all the e-commerce portals in operation under a legal framework.

Other proposals include formation of a central complaint management cell, mandatory registration, action against schemers and amending the Digital Security Act and Money Laundering Prevention Act.

Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan, law minister Anisul Huq, and information minister Dr Hasan Mahmud attended the review meeting held with commerce minister Tipu Munshi in the chair.

Commerce secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh, IGP Benazir Ahmed, representatives from different state agencies and e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB), among others, attended the meeting.

Mr Ghosh presented the decisions made by the high-ups at a press conference.

He said the commerce ministry would start implementing the decisions from tomorrow (Thursday).

Mr Tipu told the briefing that the government would set up a separate e-commerce regulatory authority to check e-commerce properly.

Law-enforcement agencies will take action against the platforms found complicit in corruption as per existing law and regulations.

"We'll take required steps so e-commerce platforms can't cheat people or customers in the future. We won't give any opportunity to do the same," asserted Mr Tipu.

"From now on, every company must obtain registration or take a unique Business Identification Number from the ministry to operate such business."

"We're not in favour of shutting down the entire e-commerce business for 10-12 errant platforms considering the engagement of tens of thousands of people in this sector," the minister mentioned.

About finance minister's comment, he said: "We don't shift our responsibility. Rather, we're ready to shoulder the accountability of thousands of people engaged in the sector."

Mr Tipu says the government is taking steps about e-commerce, but it is important to make people aware of high profit-making offers.

The government will monitor all e-commerce platforms.

Sending the Evaly CEO and chairman to jail is not the solution. The government will take steps to ensure that the affected customers get their money back, he adds.

On September 17, Evaly CEO Mohammad Rassel and his wife Shamima Nasrin, chairman of the company, were arrested on charges of embezzlement and fraudulence.

They are now in police custody in a slew of cases.

In a recent report to commerce ministry, Evaly revealed that it had owed more than Tk 2.058 billion to its merchants until July 15.

Its current liabilities stood at Tk 5.43 billion until July 15, revealed a report submitted by the company to the ministry.

However, the business portal did not mention any deadline to make payments to its merchants.

Until July 15, Evaly owed about Tk 3.11 billion to customers, it said on August 26 in response to the ministry's show-cause notice.

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