E-commerce refund waits for law ministry's vetting
The refunding of the e-commerce companies' stuck up money at the central bank's payment gateway to the affected e-commerce consumers and merchants will delay further because of delays in vetting by the law ministry.
Although the commerce ministry and Bangladesh Bank (BB) have already decided to pay back Tk 512 crore to the affected e-commerce consumers and merchants, the law ministry's vetting is delaying the refunding of the money.
The cabinet division formed a 15-member high powered committee formed in September decided to refund the Tk 512 crore to the affected e-commerce consumers and merchants.
The decision was also endorsed in an inter-ministerial meeting last month. However, before starting the refunding of the money the commerce ministry sent the proposal to the law ministry for further vetting on the process of paying back the fund to the consumers and brands.
"We will start refunding of the money as soon as we get the nod from the law ministry after the vetting on the proposal by the law ministry," said AHM Shafiquzzaman, additional secretary to the commerce ministry and the chief of the newly formed platform Digital Commerce Cell (DCC), a dedicated body for the e-commerce business under the commerce ministry.
Once the law ministry gives its positing vetting in favour of refusing the money, then the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) will also be asked to unfreeze the accounts of accounts for starting the refunding of the money to the affected consumers and merchants, Shafiquzzaman also said.
"So, it is difficult to say exactly when the refunding of the money will begin," the additional secretary also said.
A joint secretary of the law ministry, which is vetting the proposal of refund of money, could not be reached by phone despite several attempts for his comments.
Shafiquzzaman, at a press conference after a meeting of the 15-member high powered committee, said the central bank will refund the money to the consumers and merchants.
Earlier in a meeting on November 9, he said the payment will be made by the central bank to each of the accounts under which the consumers and merchants made transactions earlier.
Each refund transaction may take one per cent or two per cent fee, he said.
Since July 1 of this year, the central bank launched the escrow service payment gateway to stop the cheating in payment by e-commerce companies.
So far some Tk 214 crore is deposited in the escrow payment gateway of non-delivery of goods but payment was made in advance.
Later, the commerce ministry and central bank could trace out another refundableTk 298 crore from some errant e-commerce companies.
The DCC on behalf of the 15-member committee has already submitted a report to the cabinet division on November 11, recommending for the Central Logistics Tracking Platform (CLTP) to track every e-commerce transaction and for the solution of any payment, dispute introduces the Central Complaint Management System.
However, the report lacks the money recovery plan from the errant e-commerce companies.