13 December 2018

Tanzania: State - Abide By E-Payment System, Otherwise

THE government has warned all government institutions and departments that are yet to officially move into the Government e-Payment Gateway (GePG) system that they have until June 30, 2019, to do so, failure to which they risk facing appropriate legal actions.

After the specified deadline, no any public revenue or finance would be collected out of the GePG system, Deputy Permanent Secretary in the ministry of Finance and Planning, Dr Khatib Kazungu, said here yesterday.

"Accounting officers of all institutions and departments that will fail to move into the new system will be in trouble," Dr Kazungu said emphatically.

He was speaking yesterday during the official opening of a three-day GePG Annual Summit which brought together participants from the Finance ministry and all Service Providers (SPs) from all government departments and institutions.

GePG is a system through which customers can pay for public services via cards, internet banking and mobile money.

Through the system there is uniformity in collection of government revenues, thus increasing transparency, accountability and efficiency.

Through GePG, the government has widened its offering of services to regular citizens and opened up business activities to payment service providers, including mobile phone companies and banks.

He said members of the public can obtain bills physically from public institutions or electronically through various online portals; and pay for valid bills at their convenient time and place; through mobile money, bank channels and or e-commerce payments.

According to Dr Kazungu, the GePG summit was a meeting for all government institutions to meet for three days to be equipped with skills on how best to use GePG system.

"I believe the ensuing deliberations shall help to improve the government revenue collection system," he said.

He was, however, quick to point out that prior to the establishment of the new electronic payment system, every institution had its own electronic billing system and management.

This created several challenges, including higher transaction costs and it was difficult to have information on revenue accrued. "The system was also not user friendly especially to tax payers, including long queues in several institutions," he said.

So far, according to the Director for Financial Information Systems Management in the ministry, John Sausi, 11 financial institutions and six mobile phone companies have integrated into this system.

And, as of yesterday, 326 institutions had been moved into the new portal, urging the remaining ones to work around the clock to beat the given deadline.

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