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Tuesday, 18 September 2018

FinMin to issue global tender for company to implement new electronic billing system once E-Payments Act is passed

FinMin to issue global tender for new electronic billing system: The Finance Ministry intends to issue a global tender to select a company to implements its new electronic billing system once the House of Representatives signs off on the new E-Payments Act, Minister Mohamed Maait said at a news conference yesterday, Al Mal reports. The CBE-drafted bill, which is expected to be presented to the House when it reconvenes next month, is part of the government’s plan to gradually transition towards a cashless, paperless economy. Ernst & Young is currently working on the details of the tender, Maait said, hinting that we can expect more regulatory and legislative changes to support the transition. Two unnamed companies, one each from China and Japan, were tapped to conduct early tests of the system, Maait added without elaborating.

The central bank plans to issue 20 mn national debit cards between January 2019-December 2021, the central bank’s Sub-Governor for Payment Systems and Business Technology, Ayman Hussein, tells Youm7. We reported yesterday that the Finance Ministry was preparing to roll out a national debit card through state-owned banks as part of its new e-payments system, which will also include ATMs and point-of-sale (PoS) terminals at which people would be able to pay bills and fees for various government services.

E-signature system also in the pipeline: On a related note, state-controlled IT security solutions provider Egypt Trust is spinning up a digital signature system that would allow the online applications for national ID cards and birth certificates. The e-signature, which would use a unique serial number identifier for each user, would cost around EGP 700 to issue, according to Al Mal.

Background: The push for digital transition and financial inclusion policies comes as the government moves to make e-payments mandatory in January 2019 and grant incentives for their use. The House had approved amendments to the Accounting Act that ban the use of paper cheques for transactions above a set threshold and make it mandatory for all government transactions to be electronic.

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