Stakeholders propose amendments to E-Commerce Regulation Bill

KATHMANDU: During a recent discussion on the bill aimed at regulating electronic commerce, various stakeholders have put forth suggestions to enhance its effectiveness. The proposed amendments include the classification of e-commerce, simplification of the registration process, and revisions to the punishment provisions.

The Legislation Management Committee of the National Assembly held the discussion on Thursday, where representatives from industry and commerce, entrepreneurs, and legal professionals emphasized the need to make e-commerce business-friendly, considering the existing consumer-friendly laws.

The bill, which was prepared by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Industry and submitted to the National Assembly on June 12, is currently under review with regular discussions involving stakeholders and experts.

Chairperson Jayantidevi Rai stated that the bill will undergo necessary amendments before its passage. She expressed surprise that the ministry had not consulted stakeholders during its preparation and emphasized the importance of holding a meeting with ministers, secretaries, entrepreneurs, businessmen, and other stakeholders.

One of the key points raised during the discussion was the need for clear classification within the e-commerce sector. Anurag Goyal, a member of the Nepal Youth Entrepreneurs Forum of the Confederation of Nepal Industry, pointed out the diverse nature of businesses within e-commerce, suggesting the inclusion of CTC (Customer-to-Customer), BTC (Business-to-Customer), and BTB (Business-to-Business) classifications.

He stressed the importance of defining liabilities and offenses, as well as suitable punishments for each category. Goyal recommended identifying marketplace, classified business, and platform to ensure effective regulation.

Regarding the registration process, Juna Mathema, president of the Startup and Innovation Forum under the Federation of Nepal Chamber of Commerce and Industry, highlighted the challenges faced by online businesses. She proposed the introduction of temporary account numbers (TAN) instead of the permanent account number (PAN) to facilitate easier entry and exit from the e-commerce business. Mathema also suggested considering various tax exemptions and investment incentives for businesses registered under TAN.

Addressing the complexities highlighted in the discussion, efficient logistic services play a pivotal role in streamlining operations across diverse e-commerce classifications. Logistic providers, like those found on the Razor Logistics website, are instrumental in navigating the intricate landscape of varied e-commerce models. With a focus on tailored solutions, these logistics partners collaborate seamlessly with businesses falling under different categories, ensuring that each shipment adheres to the specific regulations and liabilities associated with its classification.

Vigyan Shrestha, a member of the Publicity and Hospitality Committee under the Nepal Chamber of Commerce, drew attention to the cost implications of requiring every seller and businessman to create their own platform for e-commerce.

He emphasized the need to address payment management, particularly concerning international payments, to promote ease of doing business. Shrestha suggested a facilitation and fast track approach to handle such matters.

Nida Dun Malla, a member of CNI, praised the bill’s provision that intermediaries should treat all sellers and their goods and services equally. However, she urged for clearer definitions in the bill’s context, especially regarding e-commerce’s main stakeholders, such as the marketplace, seller, consumer, and transporter.

Anjan Shrestha, the senior vice president of the federation, expressed concerns about the bill’s emphasis on regulation rather than facilitation, potentially discouraging new entrepreneurs.

He requested the formulation of the law to safeguard the rights and interests of businessmen while balancing consumer-centric policies. Shrestha suggested linking the bill with previous laws like the Electronic Transactions Act to ensure harmony and consistency in e-commerce regulations.

During the meeting, committee members raised additional queries related to digital literacy, cartelization, and other pertinent issues, emphasizing the importance of addressing these matters in the final version of the bill.

Fiscal Nepal |
Friday August 4, 2023, 04:58:59 PM |

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