Long lines at key Government revenue agencies will soon be a thing of the past as Government intensifies efforts to develop a digital economy, Economic Affairs Minister Ryan Straughn has promised.
On Friday, payments to at least three public sector offices were officially launched on Government application, E-Z+ Pay in response to numerous complaints about revenue collection.
The initiative forms a partnership between the ministries of Innovation, Science and Smart Technology and Economic Affairs as well as numerous key private sector entities. According to Minister Straughn, the initiative will form the foundation of Government’s mandate to improve business facilitation.
“We must be in a position to deliver a business and customer-friendly experience such that you will no longer experience the long lines waiting at the BRA [Barbados Revenue Authority] or the treasury and this is real for Barbados. I believe your time is valuable and you should spend it in a way that obviously makes sense to you and standing in line at any of these institutions doesn’t make sense as far as the Government of Barbados is concerned,” he told those gathered at the Radisson Aquatica Hotel.
Land tax, National Insurance Scheme contributions and the entries to the Official Gazette are among key services, which will immediately be facilitated by E-Z Pay.
Straughn further revealed the new digital payment system would eventually be filtered into other areas of Government and the private sector as the use of physical cash is eventually phased out.
“We are on a mission to reduce the amount of cash, cheques etc. circulating in the economy because that takes time to circulate, to verify and validate and all of these processes require manpower.
“We have to demonstrate over and over consistently, whether you are a pensioner or a young entrepreneur, we must make it simple to do business and simple to be paid and I think as we embark on this mission in reaching the people where it matters, we must remain committed to reaching those people in as short a space of time so the transformation of this economy can advance,” Straughn stressed.
To launch the platform, citizens must visit Ezpay.gov.bb, create an account, login to that account, select their desired service and pay with a debit card, credit card or Mmoney.
Minister of Innovation, Science and Smart Technology, Senator Kay McConney, while delivering the feature address, said in addition to revenue collection agencies Government was adding police certificates of character, driver’s licences and passports to digital platforms.
For the most recently released initiative, Government has recruited 70 young people from tertiary educational institutions to launch a public education campaign and assist average Barbadians with their transition to a smart nation. Government hopes to attract a total of 500 of the youth to work on the scheme in the coming months.