Sri Lankan e-commerce reforms to improve sales for small businesses

E-commerce reforms are aimed at electronic payments, data protection and privacy, consumer protection and cyber security to help SME businesses. Source: Housing, Construction and Cultural Affairs Ministry Photo.

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan e-commerce reforms underway in are aimed at encouraging more transactions and helping companies, especially small businesses, improve access to overseas markets, a government official said.

“Improving electronic-commerce is for the benefit of SMEs (small and medium enterprises),” said Dayaratna Silva, national project coordinator of the European Union-Sri Lanka Trade-Related Assistance project.

“It is the SMEs who should be ultimate beneficiaries of this initiative,” he told a forum on e-commerce reforms in the island involving public and private sector officials.

“Bigger companies have the ability and resources to get around the problem be it e-commerce or other areas. It is the small firms often who do not have the capabilities.”

The ‘National Public-Private Dialogue’ on e-commerce reforms was held by the Ministry of Digital Infrastructure and Information Technology (MDIIT) and the International Trade Centre (ITC).

The ITC is a joint agency of the United Nations and World Trade Organisation that focuses on strengthening soft infrastructure-related assistance to trade and trains developing country officials to improve use of trade as a tool for development.

“With proper management of e-commerce, with a policy framework, e-commerce offers significant sales channels for SMEs which is the focus area for this project,” Silva told the forum.

It covers a wide range of reforms to promote e-commerce, ranging from electronic payments, data protection and privacy, consumer protection, and cybersecurity to logistics and access and education.

The reforms are being planned at a time of growing use of e-commerce platforms and increasing internet penetration although such transactions are still low compared with other regional countries.
(COLOMBO, 03 September, 2019)