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22 July 2024

Business Insider Bangladesh

Bangladesh progresses fast in establishing cashless society: Salman

BI Desk || BusinessInsider

Published: 01:34, 8 July 2024  
Bangladesh progresses fast in establishing cashless society: Salman

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Prime Minister's Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman F Rahman on Sunday said Bangladesh is making rapid progress in establishing digital and cashless society.

“Bangladesh has achieved success in creating an enabling atmosphere for digitalisation,” he said while speaking at a roundtable organized by ICC Bangladesh jointly with ICC DSI of International Chamber of Commerce, said a press release.

The roundtable was sponsored by ADB TSCFP along with US Department of State (US DoS) and ITFC of Islamic Development Bank while Standard Chartered Bank was the Knowledge Partner.

The programme , held at the Dhaka Sheraton, underscored the transformative potential of paperless trade for economies worldwide.

In his speech, Salman highlighted Bangladesh's progress in digitalization under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

He said one of the most important components of digitalization is interoperability.

However, successful international digital trade depends on other countries too, he added.

“International trade is not only dependent on Bangladesh, but also dependent on the counterparts who also have to make various reforms,” he said, adding that there are also some challenges rising from developed countries.

“Now we see more and more protectionism, especially from the United States, even we are seeing that in Europe,” he said.

Salman added that with the rise of technologies there are growing concerns with cyber defence.

He said artificial intelligence is now evolving faster with exponential growth in its IQ level.

Mahbubur Rahman, President of ICC Bangladesh, who chaired the programme, said that digitalization enhances efficiency, reduces costs, and broadens market access.

He introduced the Digital Standards Initiative (DSI), a global effort based in Singapore supported by entities such as the Asian Development Bank and the World Trade Organization.

“By adopting digital trade solutions, businesses can manage the challenges of international markets more effectively and sustainably, the Digital Standards Initiative (DSI) is a global initiative based in Singapore, backed by an International Governing Board comprising leaders from the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Enterprise Singapore, the Asian Development Bank, the World Trade Organisation and the World Customs Organisation” he said.

He said every year, ocean carriers issue about 45 million bills of lading, a crucial shipping document. Many international shipping documents are still not standardized and mostly paper-based, needing physical exchanges.

Using electronic bills of lading (eBLs) will speed up transactions, save costs (like reducing administrative expenses for cargo handling and document processing), and reduce fraud risks with digital authentication.

Citing from A McKinsey study, he said that 100 per cent adoption of electronic bills of lading (eBL) could unlock $30-$40 billion in global trade growth by reducing trade friction.

This shift could also save 28,000 trees annually and significantly cut carbon emissions.

He said Bangladesh ratified the UNESCAP Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-Border Paperless Trade in 2020.

This roundtable marks the first step in introducing DSI, with plans to draft rules and regulations aligned with global digitalization trends by 2027.

Edimon Ginting, Country Director, Bangladesh Resident Mission, Asian Development Bank said effective digitalization of trade will increase growth and create jobs by expanding access to global trade networks for developing economies.

Rupa Chanda, Director of Trade, Investment, and Innovation Division at UNESCAP, highlighted that digital trade is crucial not only for Bangladesh but also for global trade efficiency and sustainability.

She said Bangladesh, in particular, stands to benefit significantly from these advancements. The country could reduce trade costs by 11-12% and gain an additional $0.6 billion in exports by embracing digital trade processes, she added.

Iftekhar Alam, Regional Head for South & South East Asia at the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), spoke about the ongoing efforts to streamline trade, particularly for major cotton-importing countries like Bangladesh.

Muhammad A (Rumee) Ali, Chairman of ICC Bangladesh Banking Commission, delivered the welcome address, emphasising the critical role of digitalization in modernizing trade infrastructure.

Lawmaker A K Azad, also Vice President of ICC Bangladesh, concluded the event by emphasising the importance of digitalization for reducing operational costs and enhancing trade efficiency as Bangladesh aims to become a middle-income country by 2026.