8 Oct 2019
OMAN: New Department Created to Regulate E-commerce and Combat Fraud
Oman’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) is establishing a new department, named the Electronic Commerce Department, which will regulate the country’s fast-growing e-commerce sector. Its creation follows a major investigation into an online shopping website by the country’s Public Authority for Consumer Protection (PACP) in August. The investigation, involving more than 60,000 customers, revealed widespread selling at below-market prices of fake goods purporting to be international brands.
The PACP discovered that the online store was just a front. Another company delivered the products from a warehouse which received its goods from a neighbouring country. The products included electronic devices, cosmetics, jewellery, perfumes, bags, books and stationery. All were being sold for prices far below their regular market price.
The new Electronic Commerce Department will be tasked with coming up with regulations to ensure that e-commerce in Oman is monitored and fake sites are weeded out to protect consumers. The MoCI said the new department will provide guidance for those looking to set up commercial websites. It will also help organise integrated commercial transactions for all institutions and individuals that deal on open electronic networks; and assist in organising operations related to the purchase and sale of goods and services via electronic networks.
The department will also develop programmes with government agencies to produce policies and procedures related to data security and protection. Speaking at the Oman E-commerce Conference on 17 September 2019 in Muscat, Dr Ali bin Masoud al Sunaidy, the Minister of Commerce and Industry, stressed that the new department will focus on encouraging small, medium and large enterprises to promote their products online.