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The Chief Executive Officer of Jumia Nigeria, Mrs Juliet Anammah has described the recent tripartite motion by the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), and the Nigeria Custom Service (NCS) on the urgent need for government to develop a framework to regulate the activities of eCommerce platforms in Nigeria, as a round peg in a round hole. She assured the government that Jumia will continue to offer necessary supports to ensure such framework is developed with the purpose of protecting unsuspecting shoppers online.
Anammah who made the disclosure in an interview with the Lagos studio of the China Global Television Network (CGTN), said: “we’re committed to helping government agencies understand how ecommerce operates. Even though it’s a section of retail, it is still a sub-sector of the total retail market. Because it is digital, there are some differentiations; we’re committed to helping government understand how that operates, how it has advanced in other countries, and what is coming ahead, because regulation isn’t just about constricting, it’s about supporting.”
“So the government wants to support it so it can grow in a way that is positive for the economy and the consumers. We share a lot of information, we’ve had sessions with CPC, we have an ongoing collaboration with SON, and many other agencies just to make sure we are constantly giving as much information as possible to assist them in shaping the right policies for the industry. In some respects also, we have participated where there are some legal frameworks to give our opinion on what we think based on what we see happen in other global environments relevant to ecommerce and Nigeria. We give recommendations and engage one-to-one with relevant agencies,” she added.
The motion to develop a framework for regulating eCommerce in Nigeria was moved at a stakeholders’ forum in Lagos, with the theme: “The Role of Standards and Quality Regulation in Electronic Commerce,” organised by the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON).
“The need for a regulatory framework was borne from the need to improve the level of customers’ trust, and ensure quality for the money spent in the sub-sector,” said, the Director-General of SON, Chief Osita Aboloma.
It is worthy of note to mention that Nigeria is not the only country contemplating putting in place a framework for regulating the over US$13 billion worth industry. The government of India, for instance, is planning to bring in an e-commerce law and a sector regulator to effectively deal with all aspects of online retail. Some of the key provisions of the draft policy include: large eCommerce firms should phase out discounts within two years; eCommerce companies have to store consumer data within India; independent eCommerce regulator will deal with consumer complaints, compliance with FDI caps; and tax incentives for data localization and infrastructure status for data centres.
Although some of the salient features of the India ecommerce regulatory framework might not be directly applicable to Nigeria, it is expected that the government agencies vested with the responsibility of developing this framework should review countries with existing regulatory framework and rely on the recommendations of local eCommerce operators, such as Jumia.