The finance ministry has issued 2.5m electronic payment cards for the salaries of government employees, to replace the current paper system, said Minister of Finance Hany Kadry Dimian.
Dimian said the government’s electronic payment and collection centre has prepared a comprehensive plan to extend the electronic system to cover all government employees, as per a cabinet decision. Egypt has the largest administrative apparatus in the world, where about seven million employees work at governmental offices.
The cabinet decision called for the activation of an electronic payments system, especially with regards to using ATMs, for salaries of state employees.
According to a Ministry of Finance statement on Tuesday, Dimian said that expanding payment and collection services has successfully doubled public revenue. He added that the value of electronic payments for taxes multiplied by more than 13 times during last season to provide tax returns, which ended in April 2015 compared to the same season in 2014.
The electronic payment system also enjoys several advantages, such as avoiding risks of handing out cash or checks as they could be stolen or miscounted, the minister said. In addition, keeping the funds within the banking system contributes to speeding up the financial flow of the national economy in general, which could positively reflect on domestic production growth rates.
He explained that the system currently covers the collection of taxes, customs dues, and the payment of pensions and salaries for civil employees, as well as the payment of dues for dealers with state agencies.
Activating the electronic system comes within the framework of the government’s efforts to improve the investment climate in Egypt and the facilitation of the private sector when companies deal with state agencies, according to Dimian, as it reduces time and visitations to agencies to pay the various dues, such as taxes and customs.
Dimian predicted that those updates will positively reflect on Egypt’s ranking on international business performance indicators and improve the management of financial flows of the general budget. They will also assist in the preparation of more comprehensive and accurate statistical reports on economic activity .
Executive Director of the Electronic Payment and Collection Project, Samar Adel, said that the government’s tax and customs projects have increased revenues driven by activating the electronic system.
She added that 3151 branches of 32 banks contribute to the system, along with 337 post offices around the state, to allow citizens to pay their taxes in the nearest branch of a bank or post office to their proximity.