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The National Executive Council (NEC) on Friday approved the Electronic Transaction Bill to be introduced in this session of Papua New Guinea Parliament which commences tomorrow, 02 June.
Deputy Prime Minister and Attorney General Davis Steven made this known at a press conference over the weekend, saying the NEC decision was timely and will help many business houses and individuals during such time of the Covid-19 when the use of technology was crucial around the world.
He said although late, many businesses are already into electronic transactions. The purpose of the Electronic Transactions Bill was to enable the legal framework for the use of electronic transactions, which would imply:
*Facilitation of electronic commission by means of reliable electronic records;
*Facilitation of electronic commerce to eliminate barriers to electronic commerce resulting from uncertainties over writing and signature requirements, and to promote the development of the legal and business infrastructure necessary to implement secure electronic commerce;
*Facilitation of electronic filing of documents with public agencies, and to support the promotion of efficient delivery by public agencies of services by means of reliable electronic records;
*By application of principles relevant to electronic transactions to minimise the incidence of forged electronic records, intentional and unintentional alteration of records, and fraud in electronic commerce and other electronic transactions;
*Help to establish uniformity of rules, regulations and standards regarding the authentication and integrity of electronic records;
*Promote public confidence in the integrity and reliability of electronic records and electronic commerce; and
*Foster the development of electronic commerce through the use of electronic signatures to lend authenticity and integrity to correspondence in any electronic medium.
He said the work on the preparation of draft law on electronic commerce was initiated by the Constitutional Law Reform Commission in 2009 with a technical report prepared in 2012 and both documents were taken into account in the current work on preparation of the Draft Electronic Transaction Act in 2018.
Steven said the process of drafting and deliberating an Electronic Transaction Act through the Legislative Council by using United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) template was promptly re-established, and the Trade Division together with the Constitutional Law Reform Commission took the lead in preparation of the draft ETA through the legislative implementation process.
“The Electronic Transaction Bill has a broad scope, as it applies to any kind of data message and electronic documents used in the context of commercial and non-commercial activities including domestic and international dealings, transactions, arrangements, agreements, exchanges and storage of information,” Steven said.
Meanwhile, proper and effective consultation in the drafting of legislations was very crucial to protect, promote and strengthen the rule of law.
That’s according to Attorney-General and Justice Minister Davis Steven when giving the government’s position on the recent Supreme Court decision that declared the Public Money Management Regularisation Act (PMMR) as unconstitutional and invalid in its entirety.
Steven stressed the need for government to learn from this Supreme Court judgment and ensure all future Bills receive wider consultation from relevant government agencies before approval by the National Executive Council (NEC).
“Let me reiterate that all further Bills before approval by the NEC must receive wide consultation from relevant agencies and not rushed through without having gone through legal and administrative processes in place, to avoid judicial scrutiny that raises questions about the due diligence of the Executive Government and Parliament,” Steven said.
He said several important lessons that should be drawn from the PMMR case include the proper and effective consultation in drafting of laws, wise to draft laws within constitutional framework of the country and to always ensure that the Constitution was protected and respected by everyone to ensure the rule of law prevails.
The Public Money Management Regularisation Act was enacted by Parliament in 2017 and the underlying objective of the PMMR was to ensure that all monies received by the public and statutory bodies were brought under control by the Department of Finance.
The Act ensured that all public monies held or received by a public or statutory body be deposited in “revenue bank accounts” designated by the Secretary for Department of Finance.
The Ombudsman Commission took issue with the PMMR and challenged its validity by raising 28 questions, asking the Supreme Court to declare whether the Act was unconstitutional in whole or in part. Of the 28 questions, the Supreme Court decided to answer 10 questions and declared the PMMR Act unconstitutional in its entirety.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
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