"It also gives recognition to electronic signatures, and provides a structure to be established for rules to be laid down in the future."
The ICT Agency, a state agency established to promote the use of information and communications technology in the country was closely involved with bringing the law to parliament.
"While we initiate efforts to focus on technological developments, the importance of ensuring parallel developments in the Legal framework is essential," says Fernando.
"Electronic commerce has considerable potential for developing countries, but the positive impact expected from it would be reduced if users were confronted with doubts as to the legal value of electronic commercial transactions after conducting costly modernisation of communication systems."
The law which was unanimously passed with minor amendment on Tuesday has to be signed by the Speaker to get legal effect.
Up to now credit card transactions have been taking place without many problems, but the uncertainty surrounding electronic transactions may have put off parties from entering into high value business to business transactions as well as slowing the growth of e-government activities.
Fernando says, most countries including India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Korea and Singapore have introduced Electronic Transaction (e-Transaction) legislation to recognise this activity based on the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law on e-Commerce of 1996 and the Model Law on e-Signatures (2001).
Some countries have opted for a detailed rule-based legislation.
Sri Lanka however has passed a broader, simplified law with a provision to gazette rules in the future.A much wiser Finance Ministry now says this money could have been better spent on development activities, echoing the words of not only this columnist, but the IMF and countless other economists who tried in vain to stand against the viciously successful propaganda blitz of the JVP.
This is what we said in The Thrift Column – Trickle Up in 2005;
“Who benefited from the fuel subsidy? The bulk of the fuel is consumed in the western province. The bulk of the electricity is consumed in the western province.
The western province literally got billions upon billions of subsidies. Billons upon billions were handed over to vehicles owners to travel around, on roads that had potholes in them.
We do not have money to fix or build roads, but we have money to give subsidies to travel on them. Fiscal policy – Sri Lankan style…
….The government did not spend money on rural infrastructure (a couple of hundred millions for Dahasak Wew, but spent Rs18 billion for a fuel subsidy targeting mostly the western province) but pumped massive amounts to give subsidies that was not targeted in anyway. This is the worst crime of the Rata Perata fiscal policies.”
In Trickle-Up we also quoted the much reviled IMF, which the JVP and home-grown economic geniuses claim, is out to get the poor.
…“’Directors considered that fiscal adjustment will also need to focus on the expenditure side, with the aim of shifting expenditure to priority infrastructure and poverty-related projects.”
-Asantha Sirimanne: email@example.com