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Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Reginald Budhan, has said that the Government would continue to work closely with the financial sector, to safeguard the integrity of the country’s electronic commerce framework.
He noted that the sustainability of the electronic transactions, particularly e-commerce, is contingent on a “supportive and responsive” infrastructure, in which “both buyer and seller have confidence.” This, he added, must be supported by a financial sector that “fully participates in and embraces electronic commerce solutions.”
Delivering the keynote address at the launch of Den Tronix Limited’s Accounting Information Systems Suite and Web Site, at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston on July 23, Mr. Budhan said that the growth of electronic commerce had the potential to offer substantial benefits to consumers, including increased choices leading to greater competition; lower prices through the removal of intermediaries between producers and consumers; more information on products, and improved after sale services.
He pointed out that electronic commerce would be beneficial to individuals unable to participate in the “traditional marketplace.”
“For example, those who live in rural areas, will have access to a range of goods and services, normally only available in urban areas. In addition, people who have an illness or a disability, will also have the benefit of on-line shopping,” Mr. Budhan explained, pointing out that e-commerce would only realize its full potential if it has the consumer’s confidence.
“This (confidence) will be supported by public education and public and private sector co-operation, buttressed by a clear, consistent legal framework,” he added.
In this regard, Mr. Budhan said e-transactions must become standard characteristics locally. He noted that wider international access within the existing credit card system has resulted in the imposition of risk premiums for non-secure transactions. Further, that the recent passage of the Electronic Transactions Act, and the Cyber Crimes Legislation, currently being promulgated, “have signalled to the international community that Jamaica is developing a more secure electronic environment, which will result in a reduction in risk premium.”
Mr. Budhan also stressed the need to address a number of key issues that would ensure a safe and efficient on-line environment that consumers would trust. These include: providing consumers with adequate information; establishing secure methods of online payments; and protecting personal information in the online environment.
“The Government will encourage the private sector to adopt self-regulatory systems and codes of practice in electronic commerce, so that regulatory intervention by Government in the electronic market is minimal. Further, the Government will seek to promote alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, which will allow the consumer fast, effective and fair redress for fraudulent, deceptive or unfair business practices online,” he informed.
Government, Mr. Budhan further advised, would continue attempts at boosting confidence in e-commerce and address the digital divide, through public education campaigns and the important “transformational value” of information and communications technologies, adding that private sector partnership with Government would be essential in this process.
Den Tronix Limited is a fully-owned Jamaican company, specializing in the development and production of computer software systems, electrical and electronic, and solar products.