An official at the Tripoli based Libyan Ministry of Economy and Trade revealed in an exclusive interview with Libya Herald that there are over 25,000 e-stores, including stores of well-known brands and stores of a service nature in various specialties, operating in Libya without official registration and documentation.
He estimated the volume of transactions of these e-stores in the hundreds of millions of dinars and confirmed that they operate in the shadow economy.
The revelation was made by Samir Al-Tarmal, Director of the Capacity Development Centre of the Libya Trade Network.
Al-Tarmal was speaking to Libya Herald last Thursday on the margins of the workshop organised by Ministry of Economy and Trade’s Libya Trade Network entitled ‘‘Regulating the Work of e-stores in Libya’’. The workshop aimed to establish the regulatory framework for e-stores with the launch of an e-platform for registering electronic stores in Libya called Maothooq (trusted).
Maothooq platform to legalise e-commerce in Libya
Al-Tarmal said that the centre provides advanced programmes in the field of e-commerce by supporting the capabilities of institutions related to e-commerce within the decisions and regulations issued by the government to organize and register stores within the Maothooq platform. He said permission is granted to practice an official and legal commercial activity within the framework of regulating the work of e-stores in Libya on the one hand and protecting the consumer on the other hand.
Therefore, registering on the Mawthooq platform will have a positive impact on e-store owners in particular and the Libyan economy in general, he added.
Advantages of registration: connectivity with shipping and e-payments
Regarding the advantages of registering on the Maothooq platform, Al-Tarmal said the Maothooq platform offers advantages to those registered on it, including providing connectivity with shipping and delivery services, in addition to providing connectivity with electronic payment services available from Libyan banks and financial services companies.
Unregistered companies barred from banking services
In this regard, he revealed, it was agreed with the Central Bank of Libya that commercial banks and financial services companies were to provide e-payment facilities only after e-stores registered on the Maothooq platform. He agreed that the Maothooq platform will only register licenced e-stores.
Role of the Libya Trade Network
On the other hand, also speaking exclusively to Libya Herald and on the margins of the same workshop, the Chairman of the Libya Trade Network, Ahmed Al-Darwish, said the Libya Trade Network provides various facilities for commercial operations. It provides the appropriate legal climate for them, including decisions and regulations regulating transit trade, regulating electronic stores, providing solutions, and issuing local prices for goods and other matters.
Guarantees rights of shop owners and consumers
Regarding the Maothooq platform, and the importance of registering on it to practice e-commerce, Al-Darwish said that the platform guarantees store owners legal protection and legal activity. This requires following the steps and registration mechanism to obtain a practice permit in accordance with the decisions and regulations governing the work of e-stores.
High security and protection
Al-Darwish stressed the necessity of registering on the Maothooq platform for all e-stores, whether for individual activity or licensed companies, because it guarantees them a high level of security and protection from fraudulent operations, and in return, it protects the consumer with goods and products of unknown origin, or corrupt and defective, and low-quality services.
Libya Trade Network
It is worth noting that the Libya Trade Network, affiliated with the Ministry of Economy and Trade, was established by Cabinet Decision No. 681 of 2021. It is a government institution concerned with implementing and managing basic and important projects and programmes. It aims to organise and develop the Libyan trade sector to keep pace with international developments in the field of digital trade and capacity building, and it claims it is the reliable source of trade data in Libya. It aims to achieve an accelerated digital transformation of the Libyan trade sector, and to facilitate and develop foreign trade in Libya.
Two e-stores were registered at the workshop
The workshop included the participation of two e-store owners who registered on the Maothooq platform, and who were granted permission to practice e-commerce by the Libyan Trade Network, namely Taha Store and Zanomy Store. They were ceremoniously given permission to e-trade by the Minister of Economy and Trade Mohamed Hwej after they completed the registration process live on screen at the workshop.
The workshop was held in the presence of the Minister of Economy and Trade, Mohamed Al-Hwej, and the head of the Libya Trade Network, Mohamed Al-Darwish, and with the participation of representatives of the Central Bank of Libya, the National Information Authority, the General Authority for Communications and Informatics, the Libyan Post and Telecommunications Holding Company, Al-Madar Company, Libyana Company, Libya Post, and Libya Phone, and several financial services and electronic payment companies in Libya.