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Thursday, 12 July 2018

House committee approves amendments to Gov’t Accounting Act enshrining transition towards a cashless economy

LEGISLATION WATCH- House committee approves amendments to Gov’t Accounting Act enshrining transition towards a cashless economy: The House of Representatives’ Planning and Budget Committee approved on Tuesday amendments to the Government Accounting Act that legally enshrine the transition towards a cashless economy, Al Mal reports. The amendments aim to bring the act up to speed with several ministry-level decisions adopted recently, such as the scrapping of paper cheques for transactions above a set threshold. The amendments make it mandatory for all government transactions — including collecting taxes and disbursing civil servants’ wages — to be electronic, according to Rep. Yasser Omar. Cabinet had signed off on the amendments last month. The proposed amendments still required asset from the House general assembly.

Background: Drafting a law on non-cash payments and transactions was one of several resolutions adopted during a National Payments Council meeting last year. The government has been taking steps to gradually decrease the rate of cash transactions as part of the state’s wider financial inclusion strategy. Planning Minister Hala El Said had said last week that her ministry has finished drafting legislation to encourage non-cash payments, but had not divulged the contents of the bill. The Finance Ministry and CBE had also been working on a law earlier this year to set limits on the amount of cash that government agencies can receive or pay in a single transaction. These laws and the Government Accounting Act appear to be separate, complementary initiatives.

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