June 1, 2020 – Press Release

The National Executive Council on Friday approved the Electronic Transaction Bill to be introduced in this session of Parliament which commences tomorrow, June 2.

Deputy Prime Minister and Attorney General Davis Steven made this known at a press conference over the weekend, saying the NEC decision was timely and will help many business houses and individuals during such time of the Covid-19 when the use of technology was crucial around the world.

He said although late, many businesses are already into electronic transactions. The purpose of the Electronic Transactions Bill was to enable the legal framework for the use of electronic transactions, which would imply:

n Facilitation of electronic commission by means of reliable electronic records;

n Facilitation of electronic commerce to eliminate barriers to electronic commerce resulting from uncertainties over writing and signature requirements, and to promote the development of the legal and business infrastructure necessary to implement secure electronic commerce;

n Facilitation of electronic filing of documents with public agencies, and to support the promotion of efficient delivery by public agencies of services by means of reliable electronic records;

n By application of principles relevant to electronic transactions to minimise the incidence of forged electronic records, intentional and unintentional alteration of records, and fraud in electronic commerce and other electronic transactions;

n Help to establish uniformity of rules, regulations and standards regarding the authentication and integrity of electronic records;

n Promote public confidence in the integrity and reliability of electronic records and electronic commerce; and

n Foster the development of electronic commerce through the use of electronic signatures to lend authenticity and integrity to correspondence in any electronic medium.

He said the work on the preparation of draft law on electronic commerce was initiated by the Constitutional Law Reform Commission in 2009 with a technical report prepared in 2012 and both documents were taken into account in the current work on preparation of the Draft Electronic Transaction Act in 2018.

Mr Steven said the process of drafting and deliberating an Electronic Transaction Act through the Legislative Council by using United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) template was promptly re-established, and the Trade Division together with the Constitutional Law Reform Commission took the lead in preparation of the draft ETA through the legislative implementation process.

“The Electronic Transaction Bill has a broad scope, as it applies to any kind of data message and electronic documents used in the context of commercial and non-commercial activities including domestic and international dealings, transactions, arrangements, agreements, exchanges and storage of information,” Mr Steven said.



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