Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi has said that the online sales of sacrificial animals could touch 7 lakh this year, with more and more people preferring the virtual way of buying amid Covid-19.
“I think the sales of animals could touch 5-7 lakh this year. Last year, the figure was about 1 lakh," he said at a webinar on the 'Impact of E-commerce on SMEs' held in Dhaka on Thursday.
On the virtual promotion of products manufactured by the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), Tipu said his ministry has been working to help them.
“But cooperation from all stakeholders are required to achieve success in this regard. We all have to move forward together," he said.
The virtual seminar, organised by Better Bangladesh Foundation (BBF), was also addressed by director (news) of Channel-i Shykh Seraj, Chairman of SME Foundation Prof Masudur Rahman, BBF chairman Prof Masud A Khan, director general of WTO Cell of Commerce Ministry Hafizur Rahman, General Secretary of E-Commerce Association of Bangladesh Abdul Wahed Tamal, and Director of Walton Group Sabina Jarin Orona.
Sharing his own experience of buying a cow through an online platform during Eid last year, Tipu said that initially there were some problems with the virtual trading process. "But they have been resolved in consultation with Bangladesh Bank."
On his part, Shykh Seraj spoke about the huge scope for e-commerce in the country. "But there is a need for an umbrella body to bring all the SMEs under it, especially the rural producers and traders. This would help them tap the potential that e-commerce has in Bangladesh."
"SME Foundation, ICT Ministry and Commerce Ministry can play a vital role in this regard," he added.
Hafizur Rahman, however, rued the lack of mechanism in the country to promote many SMEs producing "lost products" through financial inclusion.
Abdul Wahed said that ECB has 1,600 members connected to 12,000 SMEs. "But most of these SMEs are from urban areas.
Initiatives are required to promote the rural SMEs as well so as to involve them in the virtual sales platforms," he said.