Revised digital commerce policy underway

With the aim of attracting more foreign investment and expanding e-commerce in Bangladesh, “Digital Commerce Policy-2018” is being revised by the government, keeping a provision of cent percent ownership for foreign company, said officials.

They said the commerce ministry has already sent the revised draft policy to the cabinet division for final approval, as the global e-commerce accounted for $ 5 trillion trade last year where Bangladesh’s equity was only $ 7 billion, BSS reports. Talking to BSS, Md Mofizul Islam, Senior Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce, said the draft of the digital commerce policy is being revised to attract more foreign investment.

“In the revised policy a foreign investor would get the opportunity of highest 100 percent equity as compared to the existing 49 percent,” he said. In the existing policy, no foreign company would run business in Bangladesh without joint-venture and the equity ratio is 51:49.  The revision is being carried out following business-to-consumer index of UNCTAD. “The local entrepreneurs would not be affected by the revision of the policy, rather it would help them in the expansion of e-commerce,” the senior secretary explained. He said the draft policy would be published once it gets the final nod from the cabinet.

The government framed and enacted the Digital Commerce Policy-2018 for the balanced development of e-commerce last year following the boost of online and social media based business in the country. An official of the commerce ministry said the revision of the policy would encourage the world famous and e-commerce giants to invest in Bangladesh. When the big companies would run business in Bangladesh, local firms would get chance to strengthen their efficiency, he said. “It’s not true that rise of foreign investment would affect local entrepreneurs.”

Shomi Kaiser, President of e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB), told BSS that they are not opposing the foreign investment but the government has to protect the interest of local entrepreneurs. She opined investment of big foreign firms like Amazon, Alibaba in large scale would expand e-commerce which would also help the local entrepreneurs to strengthen their capability and efficiency.

The e-CAB President requested the government to put more concentration on infrastructure development alongside revision of policy. She also demanded an easy access to finance for the local entrepreneurs to compete with the global giants.