The East African Legislative Assembly sitting in Kampala has adjourned debate on the EAC Electronic Transactions Bill 2014 to pave way for stakeholders to make additional input.

The Chair of Council of Ministers, Dr. Abdallah Saadaala requested for deferment of the debate, and the EALA Speaker Daniel F Kidega directed that the private members bill initiated by Dr James Ndahayo be included on the Order Paper during the next Plenary in Nairobi, Kenya.

Dr Saadaala said he supported the bill but hastened to add that there was need for more time for the consolidation of further inputs and comments by stakeholders including among others the East African Communications Organisation (EACO) in Kigali, Rwanda and the EAC Monetary Affairs Committee (MAC).

The EACO brings together a number of consumers of e-transactions, MAC focuses on electronic payments and settlements systems in the EAC region.

‘The Electronic Transaction Bill, 2014 seeks to meet the need of exploiting electronic transactions in the modern day business transactions. The Bill further wants to promote technology neutrality in applying legislation to electronic communications and transactions and to develop a safe, secure and effective environment for the consumer, business and the Governments of the Partner States to conduct and use electronic transactions’ an EAC release states in part. The Bill received massive support, with among others EALA MPs Mumbi Ngaru, Martin Ngoga, Pierre Celestin Rwigema, Mike Sebalu and Abdullah Mwinyi all weighing in in its favour.

The debate on the Bill was preceded by tabling of a report by the Committee on Communications and Trade Investment which undertook public hearings on the Bill.  Other stakeholders consulted included the ministries responsible for ICT, finance and, trade and commerce; ICT regulators and the e-government agencies; Offices of the Attorneys General, including the Law Reform Commissions; law societies and law enforcement agencies as well as the East African Business Council and Private Sector Federation.