Ghana’s Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation Takes a Stand on E-Commerce Regulation

In a move aimed at bringing order and oversight to the burgeoning e-commerce and courier services sector, Ghana’s Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation has issued a directive impacting both new and existing operators. As of December 19, 2023, all e-commerce operators and their courier drivers are required to register with the Postal and Courier Services Regulatory Commission (PCSRC).

The Deadline Looms

The directive specifies a tight deadline; after December 19, 2023, no new goods delivery and courier service providers can register with any digital platform or delivery service without a valid PSCRC e-certificate. Existing operators have a slightly extended grace period until January 24, 2024, to comply with the directive.

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Aims and Objectives

The core objective behind this regulatory push is clear: to curb e-commerce fraud and crimes committed by unlicensed, unregistered drivers, courier operators, and delivery personnel. The registration process involves acquiring an e-certificate and an African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Number, aligning with broader regional trade goals.

Legal Foundation

The Ministry cites existing legislation to support its directive. The Electronic Transactions Act of 2008, Act 772, and the Postal and Courier Services Regulatory Commission Act of 2003, Act 649, provide the legal framework for these regulations. Section 10 of Act 649 designates goods delivery and courier activities in Ghana as a regulated service, while Sections 47 to 49 of Act 772 outline minimum compliance standards for e-commerce operators.

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Companies in the Spotlight

The directive encompasses a wide range of businesses, including prominent names like Uber, Bolt, Yango, Glovo, Jiji, Tonaton, Maxmartghana.com, and all e-commerce and e-delivery platforms and companies. The Ministry emphasizes that these businesses must cease using unregistered personnel for delivering goods to combat fraud and customer abuse.

Adapting to Change

This regulatory move comes at a crucial juncture as Ghana focuses on cross-border e-commerce objectives within the AfCFTA. With the growing use of digital platforms to facilitate internal trade, the need for sector streamlining becomes more imperative.

Looking Ahead

As the deadline approaches, it remains to be seen how these regulatory changes will shape the e-commerce landscape in Ghana. Will the streamlined sector contribute to the broader goals of the AfCFTA, and how will businesses adapt to the new regulatory framework?

Ghana’s Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation is undoubtedly taking proactive steps to ensure a secure and regulated e-commerce environment. The coming months will unfold the impact of these changes, and the e-commerce sector in Ghana may well serve as a case study for other nations considering similar regulatory measures. Stay tuned for further developments in this evolving narrative.

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