Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait said that the digital economy is the locomotive of sustainable development given the current global changes, especially the ongoing pandemic.
Maait’s remarks came at the recently held Information Security and Cyber Security Conference (CAISEC22).
The minister added that the pandemic has imposed unconventional patterns reflected in remote work and education, expanding digitised services, and e-commerce. Accordingly, the digital economy must be consistent with the requirements to limit the spread of this virus.
He explained that President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has taken initiative to direct the government to proceed with maximising the country’s digital capabilities, enabling it to achieve its economic goals and meet the development needs of citizens. This paves the way for the new Republic and the transition to a digital Egypt.
It also contributes to strengthening the governance of financial systems, laying the foundations for financial inclusion, and ensuring the state’s rights are taken into consideration, along with simplifying and digitising procedures in a way that helps stimulate investment and create an advanced pattern of government work that can provide distinguished services to citizens in a more diverse and comprehensive manner.
Furthermore, he said that the political leadership has placed cybersecurity for the information infrastructure at the forefront of the Egyptian state’s priorities, with the tributaries of the digital transformation expanding and extending to various sectors.
This step is also in recognition of the importance of laying the foundations of integrated protection for data transmission networks, the messaging system, and electronic archiving, as well as ensuring that any cyber threats are addressed. This contributes to localising global expertise and filling any gaps in electronic applications using the latest technical means.
He pointed out that the Secured and Smart Documents Complex — the largest and most recent in the Middle East and North Africa — contributes to consolidating the pillars of digital transformation by creating a more protective and secure environment for the information infrastructure.
“In the Ministry of Finance, we have taken into account the importance of cyber security in the various stages of digital transformation in coordination with the competent authorities. We seek to ensure that the highest levels of accuracy, efficiency, insurance, and protection for automated financial, tax, and customs systems and e-government transactions are applied,” Maait explained.
“This happens in cooperation with the concerned authorities in Egypt and major international companies based on the implementation of digital transformation projects at the tax and customs authorities to prevent any hacking, tampering, or forging attempts.”
He went on to explain that implementing the Government Financial Management Information Systems (GFMIS) in the budgetary entities with its accounting units — which amounted to about 2,637 units — and linking them to the electronic payment and collection system and the Treasury Single Account (TSA) contributed to closing the final accounts of the budget.
The new budget begins from the first day of the new FY in a manner conducive to achieving transparency and quality performance, whereby the budget-financed entities are able to meet the requirements of their approved activities and plans in accordance with the specified financial allocations. This helps enhance the level of services and facilitate the means of providing them to citizens in various sectors.
He stressed that the electronic budget helped determine the size of the state’s public treasury revenues as well as the volume of expenditures in an instant and then estimate the correct position necessary to take any accurate decisions related to the state’s public finances.
Maait also pointed out that there is a keenness on expanding the use of “technological solutions” in taxes and customs to ensure the sustainable modernisation of automated financial systems according to the latest global standards and expertise as part of the gradual transition to a digital Egypt.
Furthermore, he said that the Unified Automated Tax Procedures System is a true translation of efforts to integrate, simplify, and mechanise the procedures for linking and collecting taxes in an accurate manner that takes into account the technical specificity of each tax and reflects the rights and obligations contained in the Unified Tax Procedures Law on financiers or taxpayers, which is an unprecedented legislative shift.
He asserted that Egypt was able to be one of the first countries in Africa and the Middle East to implement the electronic invoice system, which helps follow up on commercial transactions between companies through the instantaneous exchange of invoice data in a digital format.
This prompted the completing of the digital transformation process by launching the trial of the Electronic Invoice System to follow up on commercial transactions between financiers and consumers in real time in all outlets of sale and purchase.