Sri Lanka to ease e-payment restrictions by 2020
Oct 05, 2018 09:48 AM GMT+0530 | 0 Comment(s)
ECONOMYNEXT - Sri Lanka is aiming to change laws so that international payments systems like PayPal could be used to receive payments by tech sector workers by 2020, an export strategy document has said.
The tech industry is based on outsourced activities and growth will depend on clearing several regulatory bottlenecks including restrictions to international online payment systems like Pay Pal.
"Restricted access to international online payment system such as Pay Pal hinders businesses’ abilities to grow globally, due to pending e-payment regulations," the tech export strategy document says. This document is part of Sri Lanka's National Export Strategy.
"No guidelines exist to implement the Electronic Transaction Act, No. 19 of 2006 (ETA 2006 ) at the institutional level to institute electronic solutions, including e-payment, e-signature, e-documents and tracking."
It is possible at the moment to make payments through Paypal via credit cards but not receive them into bank accounts. The central bank has said they had not blocked Paypal, but it is not clear why the firm is not providing inward remittance services.
Most Sri Lankan businesses, however, have access to smaller international gateways such as 2Checkout and Skrill (formerly called Moneybookers).
"Existing restrictive rules are also applied to foreign exchange, including those relating to employee share option schemes where it is mandatory to make a deposit in an foreign exchange earners account (FEEA) to receive or make a payment in a foreign currency," the strategy document says.
The National Export Strategy has proposed that the Central Bank develop additional instruments to facilitate the exchange of money digitally by end March 2020.
Sri Lanka's ICT Agency and tech business chamber SLASSCOM will support the Central Bank in this endeavour.
The Central Bank is also tasked with sensitising small and medium businesses and start-ups on the available instruments to receive foreign payments and exchange money digitally, such as the Business Foreign Currency Accounts (BFCA) and Electronic Fund Transfer Card.
Sri Lanka also proposes to issue the necessary guidelines for implementation of the Electronic Transaction Act No.19 of 2006 (ETA) to fully enable e-payment, e-signature, e-documents and tracking by end March 2020.
The National Export Strategy sets an end-March 2020 deadline with the Ministry of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure tasked with steering implementation of the ETA, supported by the central bank and Ministry of Justice. (COLOMBO, 27 September 2018)