More Sri Lankans are likely to make online purchases and conduct online banking since Parliament unanimously passed the Electronic Transactions bill in March 2006. That bill marks an important achievement for Sri Lanka’s ICT industry.
The purpose of the bill is to eliminate legal barriers and establish the legal certainty necessary for e-commerce, whether local and international, or involving payments or the exchange of information, or both. The bill provides for the recognition of electronic contracts, the creation and exchange of data messages and other communications in electronic form, facilitates electronic filing of government documents and provides for the appointment of a certification authority and for the accreditation of Certification Service Providers. It is based on the model law on e-commerce and electronic signatures of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL).
Nathan Associates contributed directly to development of the bill through the USAID-sponsored Competitiveness Project and its predecessor project. In 2001, Nathan helped Sri Lanka’s ICT industry create a strategy for competitiveness. The strategy called for pursuing legal reforms that would help e-commerce realize its promise. The strategy report noted that the country lacked laws that “recognize digital contracts, signatures, and notarizations essential to e-commerce; provide adequate data protection or “safe harbor” provisions for the public and business; fully safeguard intellectual property rights; protect against computer crime such as fraud, identity theft, data destruction or misuse; or protect electronic fund transfers.”
In addition to aiding the ICT industry cluster in devising a strategy, Nathan provided technical assistance on issues related data protection and computer crimes. In 2003, a project consultant devised the technical recommendations that formed the basis for the legislation.
A Competitiveness Strategy for
Sri Lanka's ICT Industry
(1.6MB, 59 pages)