The government has announced rolling out digital payment options at six in-person sacrificial animal markets under the jurisdiction of Dhaka North City Corporation, scheduled to open Friday, as a pilot programme – Smart Bangladesh, Smart Haat – aiming to save both buyers and sellers the tension of carrying cash.
With the services, capital residents can now buy their Eid-ul-Azha sacrificial animal, paying with their credit or debit cards as well as mobile wallets such as bKash.
The Bangladesh Bank, in collaboration with the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock and the Bangladesh Dairy Farmers' Association (BDFA), launched the pilot project on Wednesday at a capital hotel and announced the 13-day service – from 1 July to 12 July – free of charge at area sacrificial cattle markets in Gabtoli, Basila, Aftabnagar, Vatara, Uttara and Kawla.
Animal traders will be able to receive their payments via Bank Asia, Brac Bank, Eastern Bank, Islami Bank, Mutual Trust Bank, City Bank, and mobile financial services bKash and mCash.
"A digital payment booth will be set up at each of the markets under the project where customers can also withdraw cash from ATM machines," Bangladesh Bank Additional Director Shah Zia Ul Haque said at the event.
Although there is a 2% processing fee charge for every transaction on point-of-sale devices, the Bangladesh Bank has made it free of charge, they said at the programme, and mobile financial service providers will compensate their agents for the special arrangement.
Participating in the event, Local Government and Rural Development Minister Tajul Islam said the introduction of the facility would help buyers and sellers avoid the hassle of carrying cash. "We have plans to introduce this system in every animal market in phases."
"Last year we, in collaboration with the E-Commerce Association of Bangladesh, launched 'Digital Haat' for online trades of sacrificial animals. Animals worth Tk2,700 crore were sold online then and the initiative will continue, thoughmany people still prefer to come to markets in person," Dhaka North City Corporation Mayor Atiqul Islam said.
The new digital transaction arrangement has been made to make things easier and safer for in-person buyers and traders, he added.
Dr Monjur Mohammad Shahjada, director-general of the Department of Livestock Services, Selim RF Hussain, chairman of the Association of Bankers, Bangladesh, Md Khurshid Alam, executive director of Bangladesh Bank, and M Imran Hossain, president of BDFA, were present at the event, among others.
Some 4,407 makeshift markets for sacrificial animals are scheduled to be arranged across the country, including 10 in Dhaka North and 12 in Dhaka South jurisdictions.