Recent assessment has found that small and medium enterprises represent a tiny proportion of loans granted by banks – Koya

Recent assessment has found that small and medium enterprises represent a tiny proportion of loans granted by banks – Koya

By Dhanjay Deo
Wednesday 27/10/2021
Minister for Commerce, Trade and Tourism, Faiyaz Koya.

Minister for Commerce, Trade and Tourism, Faiyaz Koya says a recent National E-commerce assessment has revealed that lending services from commercial banks are generally focused on large infrastructure and low-risk projects, with small and medium sized enterprises representing a tiny proportion of loans granted.

While speaking in the E-Commerce and Consumer Protection Workshop, Koya says according to this assessment which was commissioned by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, this low access to financing limits the ability of small and medium sized enterprises to invest in E-Commerce-related ventures and upgrades.

Koya also highlighted that whilst businesses have embraced E-commerce, consumers remain skeptical about the perceived high risks and uncertainty with the online shopping concept and remain settled towards the traditional shopping environment.

He says tangible factors in a traditional shopping environment, such as the appearance of a store and direct contact with a sales person provides a sense of comfort and trust.

The Minister for Commerce, Trade and Tourism says we must also acknowledge that consumers, especially young consumers, have also adapted and accepted these tools, including cashless transactions and online transactions and sales.

Koya also stated that there are huge potential benefits of E-commerce to consumer welfare, but lack of product information, unfair business practices, inadequate online dispute resolution and breaches of consumer privacy is commonly found.

He says to protect consumers and ensure a level playing field, there is a need for review of consumer policies and there should be special features of E-commerce in the respective consumer law.

Koya adds there also needs to be a comprehensive audit of policies, incentives and laws related to E-commerce and he is tasking the Ministry to conduct this task in conjunction with stakeholders like Consumer Council.



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