Automated clearing house by June
An automated clearing house, a system essential for electronic fund transfer, will be set up at the central bank by June, said a senior Bangladesh Bank (BB) official yesterday.
“The process of installing the automated clearing system is ongoing,” said BB Deputy Governor Ziaul Hasan Siddiqui, responding to a query by an IT professional at a seminar.
Bangladesh Automated Clearing House will process cheques, credit and debit payment instruments with the help of magnetic ink character recognition and imaging technologies.
The system is based on a centralised processing centre located in Dhaka and its branches in seven other cities. The system will support both intra-regional and interregional clearings.
Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) organised the seminar on "e-commerce and online payments" on the sidelines of the five-day BASIS Softexpo 2009 at Bangladesh-China Friendship Conference Centre.
The government has been working with the United Nations Development Programme for introduction of e-commerce in the country.
A project called "Digital Signature: Methodology and Deployment in Bangladesh" is underway to build the digital payment systems.
Siddiqui said a lack of awareness among policymakers as well as businesses and associations and a weak information technology backbone hinder e-commerce.
Some speakers at the seminar also echoed the deputy governor and said lack of proper initiatives and a "negative mindset" about e-commerce are the bottlenecks in implementing the online and internet-based payment systems.
Currently, internet banking in Bangladesh is restricted to customers accessing and viewing their ledger accounts.
“People are ready to adopt e-commerce. Even the political parties support it. Probably it is red tape that slows e-commerce,” said AKM Fahim Mashroor, chief executive officer of Bdjobs.com Ltd.
In a keynote paper, Munir Hasan of UNDP said people fear that money will be siphoned off Bangladesh if e-commerce is introduced.
BASIS President Habibullah N Karim also spoke.