SON, CPC Others Canvass Regulatory Framework for eCommerce Sector

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Emma Okonji

Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), among other stakeholders, are calling for the establishment of a regulatory framework for the Nigerian eCommerce sector, which is an emerging market that worth over $13 billion.

They made the call at a technology forum organised by SON in Lagos recently, which had the theme: ‘The Role of Standards and Quality Regulation in Electronic Commerce’.

The stakeholders were of the view that such regulation would enhance robust and efficient electronic commerce transaction in the country, through enabling laws, since the eCommerce market is an emerging market.

Current statistics showed that Nigeria’s eCommerce sector is estimated at $13 billion, with over 400, 000 orders daily. It has players including Jumia, Gloo.ng, Dealdey, Kaymu, Wakanow, and Konga, which was recently acquired by Zinox Group and merged its operations with Yudala.
The stakeholders insisted that the need for a regulatory framework was borne out of the need to improve the level of customers trust and ensure quality for money spent in the sector.

Director-General, SON, Osita Anthony Aboloma, who was represented by the Director, Corporate Affairs, Dr. Paul Angya, said the promotion of awareness on standards and quality regulation in the eCommerce sector has become necessary as the drive for digitalised market places increase and the pressure on the standards community mounts.
According to him, these require that all stakeholders reckon fully with the realities of the competitive and fast-paced global economy.

Aboloma noted that with the increasing volumes of consumer complaints being received by SON, CPC and other sister regulatory agencies on daily basis about the quality of products sold online, there was need for a robust regulatory framework in place for the sector.

He said products like mobile phones, electrical and electronic devices cannot be physically viewed and tested before purchase online, while the claims on their functionalities have been found in many cases to be inaccurate or sometimes outrightly false.

SON Director, Product Compliance Directorate, Tersoo Orngudwem, said eCommerce as an application of the internet technology would continue accelerate growth, hence the need for proper laws that will set the standards for the regulation of eCommerce in the country, adding that there must be punishment for anti-social behavior during online transactions, in order to safeguard the sector.
Director-General, CPC, Babatunde Irukera, said the eCommerce sector needed stronger regulations to stay afloat to service customers effectively.

Irukera called for a standalone customer unit that would aid complaint resolution mechanism.
He stressed the need to institutionalise consequent management system across the entire ecosystem of the sub-sector to make the process more seamless.

Participants at the forum raised issue including underhand dealings by vendors; delay in delivery of shopped items; fictitious items, withholding of consumer funds in botched transactions, among others.