Rajesh Rai  | Phuentsholing 

Doing businesses online through social media sites on a large scale is illegal, according to officials from Department of Trade (DoT).

Officials also said people into businesses online at a commercial scale, without proper establishment and registration, would be liable for penalty.

The chief trade officer with DoT, Rinchen Lhazom, said most individuals using social media platforms to sell products, including those imported ones, was allowed if the size of the business was small.

“But doing business at a commercial level without a valid license is illegal,” she said, adding that necessary actions would be taken as per the rules prescribed by the existing trade laws.

Rinchen Lhazom said the department is hopeful that people interested to do e-commerce would go through the e-commerce guidelines of July 2019, get licence and do e-commerce legally.

In the two-day workshop on e-commerce, market modernisation and skills development held in Phuentsholing on January 7 and 8, about 40 private sector employees from across the country participated in the workshop. Trade officials from other regional offices also attended the workshop.

DoT officials also said that the Department of Cottage and Small Industries had taken over the issuance of e-commerce licence and 18 licences were issued. Today 13 more have been approved taking the total number of e-commerce ventures to 31.

A participant, Sonam Ratu, said the courier company he represented has tremendous potential in doing e-commerce. “It would be easy for our clients. There are transparency and accountability.”

He said they are working on it but it might take time.

Meanwhile, the workshop was also held to give private sector representatives a chance to raise their concerns. However, not many officials, who could make decisions attended the workshop.

Directorate Services’ director, Yeshey Rangrik Dorjee, said chief executive officers and senior officials from the management did not attend.

“They should come and raise their concerns,” he said, adding the workshop was a forum for private sector representatives to communicate.

Yeshey Rangrik Dorjee said the department’s motive was to enhance public service delivery, which the private sector players could avail. “It would bring efficiency and profit in their business.”