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Growth of e-Commerce on the Rise

Growth of e-Commerce on the Rise

We all are becoming integrated parts in the expansion of e-Commerce services. In Bangladesh, we have been a witness of this expansion for the last one and a half years. The growth in the e-Commerce sector has increased by 25%. This growth has doubled in the last year. In 2018, the global retail market was 2.98 trillion dollars, whereas it was 3.53 trillion dollars in 2019. Furthermore, the retail market was 4.206 trillion dollars in 2020, it was expected to be 4.92 trillion dollars in 2021, it is going to be 5.69 trillion dollars in 2022 and it is estimated to be 6.54 trillion dollars in 2023. This growth is estimated to be close to double in 3 years. However, if we closely look at the last 10/15 years of growth, we will notice that we have lagged quite a bit in the past. Recently, our economic growth is comparatively much better than that. In Bangladesh, the e-Commerce market is said to be worth 16,000 crores BDT in 2020, and by the end of the 21st Century, it is expected to be worth 24,000 crore BDT. Our growth was quite satisfactory even before the COVID-19 outbreak. The use of the internet, social media, smartphones and an increase in electricity connections have had an impact on this growth. Since 2015, the advent of e-CAB attempts have been made to solve some of the problems directly which has led to the expansion of several delivery service organizations and some other services as well.

The policymakers have been working with the government to address the issues of some policies. For example, Bangladesh Bank's ESCROW service was launched on June 30, and the Ministry of Commerce announced the Digital Commerce Management Guidelines on June 4 to ensure the financial security of the customer. From the start of the COVID outbreak, creating separate guidelines for the health safety of the delivery workers, providing them with sufficient health advice, running emergency services with the government's permission, allowing food delivery service to restaurants and homes during Ramadan, and providing opportunities to sell Eid-centric fashionwear entrepreneurs of e-Commerce have been protected from an economic catastrophe. However, all of the vendors were not able to turn their dire situation around. Although the commodity services and the urban chain supply were in operation, the connections to the productive rural supply chains were repeatedly cut off. Meanwhile, alternative services were added to deliver non-toxic mangoes from the mango farmers to the customers of the city through online entrepreneurs. It has already been established that online entrepreneurs have fulfilled their responsibility of delivering daily necessities at fair prices to every household during the lockdown and due to which people's confidence in e-Commerce has increased manifold. e-CAB set a milestone in the success of alternative product services as well.

For example, marginal farmers and ranchers selling sacrificial cows in the digital market, providing help to 10,000 impoverished people through a project for human charity service, reducing the price of onions in the marketplace by starting to sell them through online services for only 36 taka with the help of the Ministry of Commerce. The biggest achievement of this COVID situation has been the development of people's confidence in e-Commerce. According to media reports, the number of organizations providing daily necessary services has tripled which means 300% growth.

In the last 6 months of last year, the daily commodity transactions alone was 3,000 crore BDT, and at present more than 2 lakh deliveries are being made every day. There are still several problems regarding product delivery at the rural level. Entrepreneurs in the e-Commerce sector do not receive any bank loans and investments. As a result, despite having enough potential this sector is not developing. However, by involving a private bank in the process, e-CAB has helped 13 companies to get loans ranging from BDT 5 lakh to BDT 1 crore last year. Cross-border e-Commerce, which we call export-oriented e-Commerce, has an annual growth rate of 74%. But in this sector too there is a lack of various facilities. To maintain the growth of e-Commerce, it is necessary to use artificial intelligence to improve the effectiveness of the digital commerce cell and increase its capacity. According to the Digital Commerce Policy-2018, decisions like risk factor management and technical committee have to be taken.

This measurement can prevent problems before they occur. A proposal has also been submitted to the government from e-CAB to create a delivery/logistics aggregator platform by connecting through the postal department. To resolve consumer complaints, the most needed strategy is the creation of a Central Digital Complaints Management System through the Ministry of Commerce / Department of Consumer Protection. Even though the success and growth have arrived there are still some problems. Ensuring delivery service at our marginal stage is an example of an existent problem. e-CAB has been in constant touch with the concerned agencies of the government in this regard. Another problem is the financial security of online consumers. For this purpose, e-CAB has already started working with Bangladesh Bank to launch the ESCROW service.

For the digital transformation of Bangladesh, 8 new sectors along with the previous 22 sectors have been declared tax-free. 1. Cloud service; 2. System Integration; 3. e-learning platform; 4. e-book publications; 5. Mobile application development service; 6. IT Freelancing. If the annual turnover of any organization in the SME sector owned by women entrepreneurs is up to Tk 60 lakh at their incentives, then the income of the organization has been declared tax-free. Tax exemption has been given for 10 years for all diploma and vocational courses in the field of science and IT to promote national skills development and employment. There are more than 2,000 institutions in the country including small and big ones. There are some conventional online shops as well. However, there are about 2 lakh active pages based on Facebook. Except for a few organizations, the rest are called non-formal businesses. Because many of them do not own a trade license.

That is why the government has already declared to make UBID mandatory. Only 4% of the total population shop online. Considering the country's communication system, internet, use of smartphones, and other developments including electricity connection and other developments, 70% of people can shop online. Furthermore, at present, only a fraction of urban shoppers shop online, but this rate is expected to exceed 20%. About 95% of this sector includes small and young entrepreneurs. During the COVID period, this sector employed 3 lakh people and now serves 2 lakh families every day. In the context of which e-CAB has won the national "Digital Bangladesh Award 2020". In the future, the development of infrastructure and policy will start a new journey through the coordination of the private and public sectors by solving the problems of the past. e-CAB has already submitted several proposals to the government, identifying the problems that may arise in the future.

We hope that the e-Commerce sector will play an important role in bringing dynamism to the digital economy of Bangladesh through the acquisition of digital capabilities and in the implementation of the government's Digital Bangladesh. We, the service recipients and service providers, will be connected with e-Commerce in one way or another and every person in the country will benefit from it. Hon'ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's acquaintance with us in the past, the government's quick response, especially the cooperation of various departments including the Ministry of Commerce, ICT Division, Postal Department, Hon'ble IT Advisor Mr. SajeebWazed Joy's implementation of instructions have helped pave our way becoming the direction to our roadmap. This progress will continue till the implementation of developed Bangladesh. 

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