Verité wants govt to issue guidelines on e-signatures

May 30, 2017 (LBO) – Sri Lankan research organization Verité has called on the government to issue central guidelines to accelerate the acceptance of e-documents and e-signatures in Sri Lanka.

Releasing a research note, Verité said issuing such guidelines, which apply to all government agencies, would be an efficient solution to inaction at the institutional level.

The firm said such guidelines can be issued by the Ministry of Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructure.

Many countries including India have successfully followed this course of action.

In some instances and jurisdictions the international acceptance of digital signatures requires the use of an accredited digital Certificate Service Provider (CSP).

Verité said the accreditation of local CSPs should be facilitated by the creation and activation of a National Certification Authority (NCA).

“Creation of a NCA is a responsibility that either the ICTA or the Central Bank of Sri Lanka can be re-tasked with in 2017,” Verité suggested.

“The continued inaction on implementing the legislation is costly to the country and undermines Sri Lanka’s potential to achieve broader economic objectives.”

Verité research has found out that the reasons frequently highlighted by various government agencies for the non-acceptance of e-signatures are largely unsubstantiated.

According to the research, the main factors hindering the successful adoption of e-signatures are bureaucratic resistance to change and administrative lethargy.

Necessary legislation enabling the acceptance of e-signatures has been in place in Sri Lanka for over a decade, since the passing of the Electronic Transactions Act No. 19 of 2006.

Sri Lanka can improve the competitiveness of its exporters by reducing processing times at the border.

A proven method in this regard is the use of Electronic Document (e-document) processing platforms for trade.