Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) will benefit small online traders most as it will ensure that large online platforms – domestic and foreign – do not deprive the small entrepreneurs by monopolising the market, said experts at a discussion programme.
"The open network of digital commerce is going to revolutionise the e-commerce business. ONDC is not a new platform. It is a network or system all stakeholders in digital commerce use to communicate with each other through a common protocol," said T Koshy, chief executive officer of ONDC, India, at the discussion programme titled "ONDC – The Way Forward," held at the BASIS Conference Centre on Saturday.
T Koshy presented the idea of ONDC, its scope of work, opportunities and challenges as the keynote speaker at the programme.
Top officials of the commerce ministry, Bangladesh Bank, SME Foundation, Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) and other trade organisations along with the major e-commerce platforms of the country participated in the event.
At the programme, BASIS President Russell T Ahmed said the private sector should work together with the government to set up the new network like India did.
In this case, BASIS is ready to provide all kinds of technical assistance to all, including the finance ministry and the Bangladesh Bank, he said.
The special guest at the programme, Md Mezbaul Haque, director of Payment Systems Department at the Bangladesh Bank, said, "In recent times, a distrust about the entire e-commerce sector prevails due to the fraud of two e-commerce companies. The Bangladesh Bank is working to overcome this situation."
The chief guest at the event, Additional Secretary of the Commerce Ministry Mohammad Hafizur Rahman said, "The ONDC network can act as a safeguard to prevent large foreign platforms from driving small traders out of the market."
The commerce ministry will soon start the work of preparing an open network policy suitable for the digital commerce in Bangladesh by using the experience of other countries in this regard. The policy will be made by taking into account opinions of BASIS and other organisations, he added.
Fahim Mashroor, former president of BASIS, moderated the discussion.