New Electronic Transaction Bill ready to go before parliament

17 Jul 2007

Ghana’s Electronic Transaction Bill, new legislation designed to regulate electronic communications and transactions in accordance with National Information and Communication Technology Policy, is expected to be presented to parliament for its deliberation later this week. According to reports in the local newspaper The Statesman, the outgoing Minister of Communications, Mike Oquaye, says that although some finishing touches are being put on the bill, it is complete and ready for the cabinet’s assessment and approval.

The Electronic Transaction Bill is supposed to remove and prevent barriers to electronic communications and transactions in the country, as well as promote the use of e-commerce. Once adopted, it will ‘ensure efficient use and management of the country’s domain space. It will further protect the interest and image of the country from being compromised through the use of electronic communications’, the paper says. The telecommunication bill, also currently under discussion, is designed to provide regulations for control of electronic communications and broadcasting. The minister says that under the new law, the regulator, the National Communication Authority (NCA), will have ‘clear cut guidelines and regulations to strengthen its capacity to operate efficiently, effectively and sustainably without fear or favour.’

It is understood that the NCA will be given new powers to ensure that the country’s telecoms operators deliver a high quality of service, via measures such as the threat of the (temporary) removal of their licence. The Electronic Transaction Bill is one of three bills currently on the table; the others are the New Telecom Bill and the National Communication Authority Bill.