The Electronic Communications and Transactions Bill of 2023 was read for the first time in the National Assembly on Thursday, by Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond. With 10 parts and 84 clauses, the proposed bill provides for the facilitation and regulation of secure electronic communications, transactions and receipts, payment and transfer of money.

Among other things, the bill lends credibility and validity to electronic contracts and electronic signatures, paving the way for advanced and more efficient transactions countrywide.

The bill is being presented at a time when a majority of businesses and commercial organisations are making a transition to computer and other related technologies to promote ease and efficiency in their processes.

However, the lack of a legal framework to support this shift has placed several constraints, highlighting the need for the bill.

The presentation of this piece of legislation is indicative of government’s overarching commitment to creating the environment for businesses and the private sector to thrive.

Clause Six of the bill makes provisions for instances, where a person’s consent is required in electronic communications. In a situation where a law provides for a record to be provided in paper form to a person, this requirement may be satisfied by providing the record in electronic form, if the person consented for it to be so provided.

Once passed in the National Assembly, this bill will also facilitate the implementation of e-governance, which has been high on the government’s agenda for the modernisation and increased efficiency of central government and the state apparatus. (Modified from DPI)


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