Govt registers E-commerce Bill in parliament to establish legal framework for electronic business

Published On: July 1, 2023 08:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, July 1: The Government of Nepal has taken proactive measures by registering a bill in the parliament to lay the foundation for private companies engaged in operating business through electronic means. With the absence of a robust legal system, conducting business through electronic means has been a challenging task until now.

The bill, currently under consideration in the National Assembly, includes provisions aimed at establishing a solid legal basis for individuals, firms, companies, and organizations to conduct electronic business. E-commerce, which involves the buying and selling of goods or services through digital platforms, is gaining momentum in Nepal.

Recognizing the growing significance of electronic trade and its impact on the economy, the government has prioritized the preparation of a legal framework for e-commerce. The proposed bill emphasizes the potential for job creation, facilitation of the seamless supply of goods and services, and the stimulation of production within small and medium-sized domestic industries.

In a bid to empower consumers and ensure informed decision-making, a new arrangement has been introduced mandating electronic business operators to connect with the system and provide necessary information through the platform. This will enable consumers to make well-informed choices and allow relevant parties, including buyers, to access comprehensive details about goods and services.

The concept of an electronic platform refers to a system specifically designed to facilitate the trade of goods or services by gathering, transmitting, or storing information through websites, applications, software, the internet, intranet, and other electronic means using computers, mobile devices, or similar technologies. Moreover, the scope of providing goods or services in Nepal through e-commerce has been extended to individuals residing outside the country.

Under the new arrangement, any individual, firm, company, or organization can purchase and import goods or services from foreign entities engaged in electronic business. However, it is emphasized that such transactions are subject to compliance with prevailing laws, and only those individuals, firms, companies, or organizations that have registered and obtained permission to engage in trade of goods or services can participate in e-commerce activities as per this Act.

Similarly, electronic business operators are required to submit an application for listing on the electronic portal within three months from the Act's commencement date. In response, the concerned department will promptly provide the relevant businessmen with the registration number of their platform within seven days of receiving the application, utilizing electronic communication channels.

Furthermore, if a businessman engages in the sale of goods or services to a foreign individual, firm, company, or organization through an electronic platform operating within Nepal, they are allowed to export such goods or services after fulfilling the advance payment requirement as per the existing federal laws. It should be noted that when an employee, worker, or representative conducts electronic business on behalf of a businessman, it is considered as if the businessman himself is conducting the business, states the bill.

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