Koya: Absence of regional e-commerce strategy a missed opportunity

Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport Faiyaz Koya. Picture: FT FILE

The absence of a regional e-commerce strategy is a missed opportunity, says Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport Faiyaz Koya.

He reasoned with without clear policy and regulatory frameworks, the potential for e-commerce would remain untapped in the region.

Mr Koya said while Fijian businesses were now adopting e-commerce, the drive had initially come from Government-to-business and Government-to-consumer services, through the Fijian Government’s flagship digital transformation program ‘digitalFIJI’.

He said the aim of the program was to increase public service delivery through online platforms, and Fiji had been increasing its scope over the years.

He added the bizFiji portal offered online services to businesses in relation to starting a business and application of construction permits.

Mr Koya said this regional e-commerce initiative that was conceptualised in 2018 could not have been realised at a better time than now.

“The power of ‘digital trade language” has been realised during these uncertain times. Many businesses have benefitted on e-commerce platforms, while other sectors declined strongly, as in the case of tourism,” he said.

“Digital connectivity and the digital economy have a huge potential and have played an important role in offsetting productivity losses we currently face.

“There is a greater need for the Pacific to foster digital infrastructure development and support digital economic integration in the region, as we attempt to restore the Pacific economy.”

Mr Koya said the Forum Trade Ministers had provided support to the regional strategy in principle at the meeting.

He says the strategy is the culmination of years of committed, serious and competent work.

“It will help guide our collective action, as there are things that we can only do better through collective action, in the spirit of Pacific regionalism.”

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