Bangladesh orders e-commerce platforms to register within 2 months

The government has directed e-commerce firms to register with the commerce ministry within the next two months following the allegations of fraud and embezzlement against several platforms, including Evaly.

The directive was issued at a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday, according to Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam.

As part of the registration process, the companies must keep a security deposit with Bangladesh Bank, he said.

The Bangladesh Financial Intelligent Unit, Digital Monitoring Platform and other intelligence agencies have also been instructed to monitor the e-commerce sector in order to prevent irregularities.

"There has been a wide-ranging discussion on the registration process. The government will not take responsibility if anyone transacts with an unregistered company," Anwarul said.

The e-commerce sector in Bangladesh had been going from strength to strength over the last decade, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic, as online purchases skyrocketed.

However, the sector has been marred by controversy and scandal after allegations of embezzlement and fraud surfaced against a few firms in recent months.

Companies, such as Evaly and Eorange, have been accused of swindling unsuspecting customers out of billions of takas on the pretext of providing lucrative discounts and offers, which ultimately landed some of their owners and officials in jail.