The bill was read for a third and final time and passed with amendments at the continuation of the Sixth Sitting of the Third Session of the Fourth House of Assembly at Save the Seed Energy Centre in Duff's Bottom, Tortola today, March 9, 2021.
Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1), who moved the motion for the final reading, recapped that the bill will boost user confidence in the use of electronic banking services in the Virgin Islands.
“The purpose of the bill is a seek to regulate and transfer money through electronic means such as by use of bank cards, credit cards, smart cards, online banking transfers and mobile commerce for the purpose of authorising payments to or from account holders account,” he said.
Hon Fahie continued, “The bill creates a number of offences related to theft, forgery and other dishonest use of a credit card, debit card, bank card, smart card or the number and data associated with such card or bank account and is intended to build user confidence in electronic commerce and electronic transfers,” he said.
While the bill has been on the proposal table since 2019, the Premier said it is part of the suite of legislation that the government has brought forward to make business transactions in the Virgin Islands more efficient.
“I always stated, once you improve effectiveness and efficiency, automatically you always increase revenue,” he said.
Contributors to the debate highlighted the ease of paying bills and making transactions online in a safe and secure way. They also noted that the legislation will especially benefit persons on the Sister Islands.
The final reading of the bill was seconded by Minister for Transportation, Works and Utilities, Hon Kye M. Rymer (R5).
The House then moved swiftly to debate the Electronic Filing Act 2019.