The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) said it was already working with other stakeholders to formulate the National Policy on e-Commerce to protect both buyers and sellers transacting business online.
The current market value of e-commerce in Nigeria hovers around US$13 billion and by 2025 the market value is expected to be around US$75 billion with more than three million jobs created.
“Over the past months, NITDA, in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, has been trying to put together the National Policy on e-Commerce. We have had several engagements with other stakeholders and this is one of them. We want to have your opinions on what exactly you want from this so we can incorporate them in order to have a comprehensive and robust policy,” said Director General of NITDA, Kachifu Inuwa Abdullahi at the recent Consumer Protection Forum with the theme, “Enabling the e-Commerce Services Driven Economy: Opportunities for Consumers, Challenges and Way Forward in Nigeria”.
The NITDA boss who was represented by Director, Standards, Guidelines and Framework, Mr. Oladejo Olawunmi, said the agency wants to make sure that there is a regulation in place that would protect all players in the industry adding that “if there is no regulation in the industry, there would be chaos and that’s what NITDA is trying to avoid.”
According to him, since the outbreak of COVID-19, people’s attention has shifted to e-commerce now increasingly gaining the expected traction.
“You can agree with me that the e-commerce sector really boomed in 2020. Since then, globally, we have realised the potential and everybody is striving to make sure that they have their own bit of the game.”
He urged Nigerians to embrace e-commerce as the government is doing all it could do to develop all the enablers of the sector.
His words: “Within the past two or three years, we have seen startups that were developed and blossomed through e-Commerce. Without e-Commerce, they might not have been able to do what they have done. Some of them were bought over by foreign companies. e-Commerce actually provides a way of limiting barriers that are presented by geographical limitations. So, you can be here and doing business anywhere in the world.”
One of the resource persons for the session on the Overview of e-Commerce, Mr. Kenny Omodara noted that formulating a policy for e-commerce is crucial to the development of the industry because it will give confidence and encourage online transactions.
Another facilitator, Mr. Desmond Idu Odaiche of Yorkshel Business Consult applauded the government for some of the regulations it has put in place and for allowing the industry to thrive.
Another participant, Mr. Ernest Paul from the National Salary, Income and Wages Commission, advocated for punitive measures to strengthen e-commerce transactions. “There must be an anti-trust policy for e-commerce if we want to encourage it. The penalty should be attached as a sanction for whoever breaches the agreement,” he said.