Leaders of the e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB), have called on the authorities to provide guarantee-free loan facilities for its members to help them sustain their businesses.
During a press call, held on Monday evening, e-CAB Finance Secretary Mohammad Abdul Haque said that the small-scale entrepreneurs in the sector, who face fund shortages, find it difficult to secure loans from banks. He also called on the entrepreneurs to make sure their documents are up-to-date.
"The traditional way of securing loans involves meeting certain conditions, which many small businesses cannot fulfil. Many small-scale entrepreneurs in this sector seek guarantee-free loans," Abdul Haque said in the meet the press event, organised to mark the 7-year-anniversary of the organisation.
Calling on regulators to offer loans on easy terms, he said, "To facilitate further growth of the sector it is not necessary to enact a new law or set up a new regulatory body, rather amending the existing law and ensuring strict monitoring will be sufficient."
He recommended regulations on the escrow system to ensure the rapid release of funds stuck in payment gateways.
"The e-commerce sector has become a Tk16,000 crore worth industry. 95% of the business owners are small entrepreneurs and we must save them," he said.
In the last few months, four companies have attracted foreign investment of Tk1,000 crore. Arrangements are being made to provide a unique business identity from A2I, said Abdul Haque before calling on the government to address issues, including the scrapping of 30% VAT on digital marketing.
e-Cab Vice President Mohammad Sahab Uddin said, "It is possible to do business while adhering to the regulations. On the contrary, risky business practices lead to the sufferings of not only buyers but the merchants as well. On top of it, a negative image is created which hampers the possibility of foreign investments in this sector."
e-Cab director Sayeed Rahman said, "The affected merchants should be brought under the compensation and incentives fold. For 21 people, the whole ecosystem cannot be damaged. Many businesses will perhaps close down. The government should be by their side not only through policy but also through financial investment and loan facilities."
Since 2014, e-Cab has taken various initiatives for the development of the e-commerce sector and played a role in policy decisions with the government. To leave the recent controversies behind, the organisation is planning to launch a positivity campaign in December.