Post COVID-19: Challenges & Opportunities for Entrepreneurship and Employment in e-Commerce in Bangladesh, the second episode of the three series webinar organized by France Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIFB) in collaboration with Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) and e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB) was held on 19th September,2020 at 7:00 pm. The Chief Guest of the webinar , Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi assured full support of the Government to the development of e-Commerce in Bangladesh in line with the Vision 2021 and Digital Bangladesh. He said that the current volume of world e-Commerce is US Dollar 3.5 Trillion and is expected to reach to US Dollar 4.5 Trillion in 2021 and it offers huge potential for Bangladesh for its development. He said that Government already formulated the National Digital Commerce Policy and launched its own satellite, Bangabandhu Satellite – 1 to expedite the realization of Digital Bangladesh.
In his opening remarks, the President of CCIFB Syed Mahmudul Huq mentioned that the present COVID-19 crisis has resulted in unprecedented economic disruptions, negative fallout on production processes and impacting adversely our trade related activities. These prompted the industry to seek e-trade solutions and greater utilization of IT and digital techniques for ensuring sustained economic activities including trade and job creation.
Md. Hafizur Rahman, Director General of WTO Cell and Coordinator of the Central Digital Commerce Cell in Ministry of Commerce made the key note presentation in the webinar and highlighted the needs to address the issues towards development of e-Commerce, both domestic and international. He explained the salient features of relevant national policies including e-Commerce Readiness Assessment and Strategy Formulation, ICT Infrastructure and Services, Trade Logistics and Trade Facilitation, Payment Solution, Legal and Regulatory Framework, e-Commerce Skill Development and Access to Financing.
While participating as a panelist, Muhammad Abdul Wahed Tomal, Secretary General, e-Commerce Association informed the webinar that the current e-commerce market in Bangladesh stood to 2.77 billion US Dollar and it will be 3.77 billion US Dollar. He emphasized on the need for coordinated and planned efforts of a2i and e-Commerce cell and BIDA to the ease of doing business and facilitate further expansion of freelancing and out-sourcing businesses.
The Managing Director of Daraz Bangladesh Limited Syed Mostahidal Hoq shared his views on the perspective of Alibaba on current e-commerce outlook and their expectation of its future growth. He pleaded for issuance of trade license for e-commerce traders working from home and special rate of VAT for promotion of e-Commerce.
Mohammad Aminul Hakim, President, Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh mentioned about the challenges that ISP company faces and also recommended some of the policy issues that need to be addressed for developing country’s ICT infrastructure to support E-commerce.
Logistic is the integral part of the E commerce business and this is one of the major areas that need to be addressed both form policy and technical aspects, mentioned by Mr. Mahbubul Anam, Past President of Bangladesh Freight Forwarders Association.
Ms. Anne Dessemond, Head of Tech and Services Department, Business France in charge for South Asia including Bangladesh shared the webinar her views on Current e-Commerce Trends and Practices in the Europe with particular reference to France.
Dr. Mahbub Hoque, Fellow IEEE, discussed about the seamless service infrastructure development. He also requested to create policy space for Bangladeshi expatriates having competence and experience in the relevant fields to play their due role in the digital transformation of Bangladesh economy.
Mr. Jarjis Imam, Global Leader for Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud Computing Services and Automation Engineering Practice spoke on the Cloud Technology, Big Data and Amazon’s Approach to e-Commerce and their Possible Applications in Bangladesh.
Mr. Ashraful Alam, Country Project Coordinator, Shaping Inclusive Finance Transformation (SHIFT), United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) emphasized on trust building and digital transformation among the supply chain actors, alternative financing products and skill development for supply chain technology, digital marketing, Content development, Digital Commerce, Platform capability /Ecommerce platform development, Technical knowledge of the industry, Ecommerce technology and Training not suitable for ecommerce.
While speaking as the Special Guest, commerce secretary Dr. Md. Jafar Uddin mentioned about the recent booming of the E commerce sector because of the pandemic and also mentioned the future challenges. He also mentioned about the recent developments of online payment mechanism and mobile banking system, improvement of the standard of living of the customers, Internet availability, 5865 Digital Centre established by GoB and also the establishment of the Central Digital Commerce Cell in the Ministry of Commerce and an advisory committee towards supporting E-commerce business.
The Executive Chairman of BIDA Mr. Sirazul Islam appreciated the recommendations made by the speakers in the webinar and assured his full support to the ease of doing business and creating an enabling environment for investments in e-commerce sector.
At the end, Mr. Shah Syed Kamal, Convener of the Committee for Policy and Advocacy, CCIFB offered vote of thanks in the webinar.