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Study proposal to regulate e-commerce discussed

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A proposal to study "legislative and regulatory controls for electronic commerce" was discussed by the sub-committee of the Technology and Innovation Committee of the State Council recently.

The meeting was chaired by Dr Aisha bint Ahmed al Washahiyah in the presence of Dr Saleh bin Saeed Musin, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion for Trade and Industry, and a number of members.

The meeting focused on a number of themes of the study aimed at proposing a draft law to regulate e-commerce in the Sultanate of Oman including: the reality of e-commerce at the global and regional levels and the extent to which it contributes as an important economic tributary to growth and expansion, and the repercussions of the Covid-19 crisis in changing the patterns of business practices especially in the e-commerce sector, the extent to which e-commerce contributes to the national economy, future expectations of its contribution to the gross domestic product, and the expected growth rates during the tenth five-year plan and future plans within the framework of Oman 2040 vision.

The committee reviewed the efforts of the ministry in stimulating the sector, whether at the level of large, small and medium companies that practice this activity in the Sultanate of Oman, and the contribution of the Electronic Transactions Law and the National Payment Systems Law in revitalizing and developing the e-commerce sector in terms of keeping pace with the current and future development and growth of the sector. It also touched upon serving e-commerce applications and their requirements, and the extent of their contribution to achieving information security, protecting the electronic contractor, and general obligations.

The meeting viewed the challenges facing the e-commerce sector at the level of the national economy in general and in the field of major investment companies, whether foreign or local, and the field of entrepreneurship in the practice of e-commerce, whether through specialized platforms and applications or through social media. In addition to discussing the ministry’s plans to develop and invest in the sector, its integration with the relevant authorities, and its vision to empower the e-commerce sector from a regulatory and legislative perspective.

The Sultanate of Oman was ranked 50th in eGov and 24th Globally in the Online Services Index of the United Nations eGovernment Survey 2020.

“There are also a number of initiatives in the Sultanate of Oman, including the formation of funds to invest in e-commerce, one of which is worth $200 million, and another fund for electronic innovation is worth $130 million. The Central Bank of Oman has also approved policies in line with the International Payment Systems Law that help in structuring digital currencies and clearing electronic checks” an official form the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion (MoCIIP).

The features of electronic transformation are evident within e-commerce initiatives, financial applications, artificial intelligence, fifth generation communications, big data analysis, electronic cloud, robotics, block-chain, and a large number of different technologies that are at the forefront of electronic transformation. “Certainly, developing countries need protection from global electronic companies, because companies take their share of developing markets and do not pay taxes on them, but pay in their home countries” he added.

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