Businesses urged to gain understanding of E-commerce regulations

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Panelists at this year’s Citi Business Festival’s Virtual Forum on E-Commerce on Citi TV,  have urged entrepreneurs, SMEs and large cooperate institutions to be mindful of the regulatory framework that regulates the e-commerce space.

According to them, E-Commerce is a key element that drives the sale of physical products online, or any commercial transaction that is facilitated through the internet.

Speaking on the theme, “exploring new ways of engaging customers” Ebo Richardson of ABSA Ghana, stated that knowing the regulations is as important as any aspect of the e-commerce business, because one can be at risk if “you fall foul of any of these legal and regulatory requirements.”

He urged entrepreneurs to be knowledgeable about the legal issues surrounding the space before transacting any business online.

“And it’s important that any entrepreneur has working knowledge of any sort of requirement, and if you are not up to any of the levels that they need, then they should get some expertise, they should buy in some expertise, some advice around that,” he said.

“If you take financial services for instance, what are the things that we have to be particularly mindful of? It is what the regulators call anti-money laundering legislation. It is designed so that people don’t transfer money across borders to finance dubious sort of elements. As a consequence, if we are going to facilitate any across border transactions, we have to make sure that everything is being complied with, else, we ourselves might fall foul of the laws,” he added.

Ghana was recently cited as one of four African countries listed by the European Union (EU) for money laundering breaches though the Ministry of Finance has described the decision as unfortunate.

According to the EU, the issue puts the financial transactions of the said countries under greater scrutiny.

Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) Limited, Archie Hesse also advised entrepreneurs to familiarize themselves with the country’s current legal framework as provided by the Central Bank.

“With regards to these regulations, you know when you buy things using the Point Of Sale in Ghana, the scheme actually spells out exactly what should happen if or when there is a dispute. Equally, there are laid down guidelines that exist, that I would encourage everyone to familiarize themselves with it,” he said.

“In those guidelines, it tells you clearly what you should do if you are working with a service provider either a Bank or a payment service provider, that is, a certified one. The Central Bank is continuously looking for ways to improve on these guidelines. But we do have guidelines that govern what happens if the product is not right; if the payment ends up in the wrong account, there is a whole department that can be used or that you can use to address these issues,” he added.

This year’s edition of the Citi Business Festival is brought to you by Citi FM and Absa Bank. It is supported by GIPC and Ghana’s most comprehensive business news website, citibusinessnews.com.