OFFICIAL STATEMENT: Kwasi Thompson, Minister of State for Finance DigiPay Roll-out in the Courts
Today I am pleased to announce and celebrate the monumental step taken by this Government in developing an electronic payment platform for cashless transactions across all government agencies. The Government's official DigiPay platform allows for real time integration into The Treasury Financial Management System and ease of balancing at an Agency level. The DigiPay Platform has allowed for collection of government revenue by debit and credit card in agencies and online. As the Central Bank rolls out the country's first Digital currency The DigiPay platform will allow for acceptance of Sand Dollars across government for payment of government revenue.
As the government streamlines its financial processes Digi Pay’s ability to record revenue in real-time into the Treasury Financial Management System increases accountability and transparency in reporting of government revenue. DigiPay’s ability to record transactions in the accounting ledger of The Bahamas Government facilitates ease of reporting and reconciliation to align government revenue streams with best practices.
However most importantly, for the public and Bahamian citizens The DigiPay payment platform facilitates ease of doing business where clients have three options of payment for government services. Online payments, Payments in Agency or Payment at a third party vendor. Long lines for obtaining government services are being eliminated by DigiPay’s flexibility with payment options. It seeks to make doing business with the government faster and easier.
Blanco currently produces a range of cleaning products and has recently started to produce an All-purpose Disinfectant spray in a move to help fill the recent demand for disinfectant products following the outbreak of COVID-19.
As the economy continues to rebound revenue collection is a critical component for the government. The DigiPay platform and ease of payment for citizens will allow for increased flow of revenue streams as clients will have less wait times, shorter lines and online payment access. These benefits will encourage citizens to engage in more timely revenue generating services for the government.
Without a doubt, DigiPay is the future of revenue collection for The Bahamas Government! It is another major milestone on our journey towards a digital Bahamas.
Today, we are not only celebrating the launch of DigiPay, we are also recognizing a major accomplishment for The Office of the Judiciary, which has fully integrated the DigiPay platform. This allows the Court system to now accept not only cash payments, as previously required, but also debit or credit card payments, thus improving upon the ease of doing business within the government. This is only one of a number of digital advancements by the Chief Justice and the Office of the Judiciary. As Minister with responsibility for Digitization I applaud their modernization efforts including moving quickly to virtual hearings and obtaining court dates and filing documents online.
I applaud the hard working professionals at the Ministry of Finance and The Office of the Judiciary on the successful implementation of DigiPay. I am elated to see the third branch of government adopting this innovative solution to expand its payment receipt options. The Department of Immigration was the first institution to go completely cashless via the DigiPay platform in October of last year. Since then, it has seen a steady flow of revenue with over 23,812 payments transacted over the new system as of March 24, 2021.
Additionally, DigiPay has been used to facilitate online payments for the government’s My Services Pilot Program, under which citizens can apply and pay for a range of government services online, including driver’s licence renewals and birth, marriage and death certificates. Bahamians can finally avoid the hassle of going to government offices to stand on long lines. Instead, they can opt to receive the same services from the comfort of their homes.
To encourage the expansion of the quickly growing face mask industry, Prime Minister Minnis recently announced a ban on the importation of non-medical masks into The Bahamas.
In the very near future, DigiPay will be available to the Port Department, the Department of Inland Revenue for Real Property Tax Collection, the Customs Department, the Road Traffic Department, the Registrar General Department, the Department of Labor and the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
As part of the Government’s ongoing digitization efforts to increase the ease of doing business in The Bahamas, the Digital Transformation Unit will release an additional three services on the online portal mypilotservices.gov.bs on Monday 29 March 2021. These include: the application for the Police Character Reference, Renewal of the Gun Licence and the renewal of the ePassport.
Eventually, the Government plans to add 200 official services to the portal for users to apply and access, and conduct safe, secure payments. These will be placed online over a five (5) year period. Since the initial expansion of pilot to the public on 03 February 2021, over two thousand (2,000) Bahamians have successfully registered and are able to request certified copies of their documents.
On Monday 29 March, Bahamian citizens in New Providence, Grand Bahama, Eleuthera, Abaco and North Andros aged eighteen years or older will be now able to apply and pay for certified copies of birth, death and marriage certificates, and the Police Character Reference, renewal of driver’s licence, renewal of the Gun Licence, and renewal of the ePassport ……….. all online. By mid-April, the Housing Application, Renewal for Driver’s Licence Permit, Deeds and Documents, the Notary Public Licence Renewal and New Applications, Post Box Rentals and Applications for new post boxes, will be released to the public.
The DigiPay platform is owned by the Government and was designed and developed by a young Bahamian technologist, Kristie Powell. Her success in implementing this breakthrough technology is a testament to the homegrown Bahamian brilliance that exists in this country. The government will be showcasing her talents on a large scale throughout numerous agencies.