JIS News

The Ministry of Energy, Mining and Telecommunications, has launched the promotion of the E-Transaction Act (ETA) 2007. The 2006 Bill, was considered and approved by the Legislation Committee on June 29, 2006 and subsequently approved by Cabinet on July 31, 2006. The Bill was then passed in the Senate on December 8, 2006 and finally enacted on 2nd April 2007. The ETA 2007 is now a reality.
The launch took place on (October 23) at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston.
Speaking at the launch, Minister of Energy, Mining and Telecommunications, Clive Mullings, says that this is, for us, a historic day which marks another milestone in the transformation of Jamaica into a digital society.
He noted that the objective of the Public Education Programme is to inform the public of their role, rights, responsibilities and benefits under the Act and to encourage all citizens to conduct business online.
“The Act provides the legal framework for secured electronic commerce in order to promote local and international confidence in the integrity and reliability of electronic documents and electronic transactions. As a government, we take the responsibility of protecting the consumers very seriously; therefore specific provisions have been made for consumers to make complaints to the Consumer Affairs Commission in accordance with the Consumers Affairs Act”, he informed.
According to Minister Mullings, many agencies, such as the Trade Board Limited, the Companies Office of Jamaica, the National Land Agency, the National Housing Trust, the Registrar General Department, the Inland Revenue Department and the Customs Department are successfully offering on-line services.
The Minister pointed to figures from the Department of Customs, which indicate a steady growth in the number of persons who are doing business via the Internet. Some 11.9% of all payments made to the Customs Department in April 2007, were done over the internet. That is, $577,686,871.00 was collected in online payments by the Customs Department in April of this year. To date, $1,902,140,291 of e-payment has been collected by Customs this represents 11.3% of the total collections, Minister Mullings informed.
I want also to report on the usage of the Government’s tax portal which became operational in 2004. The total collections to date are $550.3 million. This signifies that consumers are gaining more confidence in electronic government services”, the Minister advised.
Minister Mullings further pointed out that there are a myriad of opportunities for the private sector and civil society. There will be tremendous opportunities for the provision of electronic services for all major sectors in Jamaica, these include e-banking, e-agriculture, e-security, e-learning, e-health and e-tourism services. He said that once these opportunities are tapped, the services will be available twenty four hours, seven days a week to citizens, the Diaspora and investors.
“My friends, this translates into more productive hours which mean increased revenue for Jamaica”, he added.
With the insurgence of new technologies, Minister Mullings informed that the Post and Telecommunications Department has introduced a range of new commercial and agency services. These services are aimed at leveraging customers’ demand for e-transaction services, which include the establishment of community access points utilizing funding from the Universal Access Fund. He says that this will allow a farmer anywhere in Jamaica to negotiate via the Internet with a buyer in the United States for the sale of bananas, coffee or other agricultural products.
The five post offices selected for the pilot phase are Santa Cruz, Christiana, May Pen, Darliston and Port Antonio.
The Government will be commencing the Public Education Programme for the Electronic Transactions today, and will be hosting a total of eight focus group meetings. The first of which is scheduled to be held with the Private sector immediately after the launch.
Eight regional meetings, which are open to all citizens and will provide a forum for the public to seek clarification on all aspects of the Act. Both the focus and regional meetings will be held across the entire island.
The Programme will also include radio, print media and television advertisement. In addition, brochures, posters and facts sheets will be distributed to the public and key agencies. The Programme will be conducted during the period October 2007 to January 2008.

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