Egypt’s Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait said that 28,000 government employees will receive prepaid “Meeza” electronic cards during October, replacing their payroll cards.
The contactless smart chip cards will allow the employees to access ATMs, make online purchases, and use points of sale (POS).
The prepaid “Meeza” cards will also allow the electronic payment of salaries through the government’s electronic payment and collection system. The move comes as part of the second experimental phase targeting ten governorates, namely Matrouh, Port Said, the Red Sea, South Sinai, Alexandria, Luxor, Daqahleya, Assiut, Gharbeya, and Fayoum.
The minister said that the issuance comes as part of the government’s digital transformation plan.
Meeza cards aim to drive economic growth and greater financial inclusion through electronic payment and online purchases.
Maait pointed out that his ministry has made great strides in implementing the national digital transformation project, which enjoys strong support and close follow-up from Egypt’s political leadership.
For his part, Finance ministry official Emad Abdel Hamid said that the ministry aims to replace about 5 million “Meeza” cards for free to disburse government salaries.
He said that the second experimental phase includes no more than 5,000 cards to test the new mechanism, and avoid any problems before full implementation.
This will take place in cooperation with the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), and banks involved in the electronic payment system for state employees’ salaries.
Abdel Hamid added that the electronic payment and collection system aims to shave about 25% off the cost of issuing currency, and 50% off the time of performing the service.
It will also improve Egypt’s ranking in competitiveness, ease of doing business, and transparency.
He said that, in 2007, the Ministry of Finance started implementing the digital transformation project for government financial transactions.
The move looked to integrate fiscal and monetary policies, whilst also achieving Egypt’s Vision 2030, with the ministry keen to develop the electronic system based on solid rules.
Director of the electronic payment and collection unit at the finance ministry Dalia Fawzi said that Banque du Caire, the National Bank of Egypt (NBE), Misr Banque, the Housing and Development Bank, the Arab African International Bank, Emirates NBD, the Arab Banking Corporation, the United Bank, the Commercial International Bank, and Egypt Post are participants in implementing the second pilot phase.