World Bank: govts can save with e-payment
GOVERNMENTBy BiztechAfrica - Aug. 3, 2012, 9:48 a.m.
Improvements that make government payment programs more efficient, safer and more transparent can cut related administrative costs by as much as 75%.
As part of its commitment to helping governments modernise in this area, the World Bank is releasing “General Guidelines for the Development of Government Payment Programs”, which promotes best practices and establishes standards for developing and improving government payments programs.
Millions of people in developing countries worldwide receive their salaries, benefits and pensions through government-to-person (G2P) payments. But in many cases, they are not being delivered in a cost-efficient way.
“Only 25% of low-income countries process cash transfers and social benefits electronically and this percentage is only slightly higher for public sector salaries and pensions,” said Gaiv Tata, World Bank Director, Financial Inclusion Global Practice. “This means that many governments are stretching limited resources, and spending more than they should on paying benefits and salaries.”
The report focuses on cases such as Brazil’s “Bolsa Familia” social safety net program, where the government saved 75% on administrative costs by going electronic. Bolsa Familia easily brought universal coverage to 12.4 million low-income individuals, representing about 30% of the population below the poverty line. By providing beneficiaries with access to a payments account, G2P programs can also expand financial inclusion for millions of the unbanked by serving as their gateway to other financial services. Programs like "Bolsa Familia" provide a lifeline to low-income families so that they can spend on essentials such as food and education.
More efficient government payment programs not only optimize government payouts, but they can also improve revenue generating activities. “It is estimated that government expenditures and tax collections, which make heavy use of government payment systems, amount to 15 percent-45 percent of the GDP,” explained Massimo Cirasino, World Bank Manager of Financial Infrastructure. “More efficient electronic payment systems not only save the government money, they can also potentially benefit taxpayers and all other users of electronic payments.”
The guidelines, which also address the operational challenges government payment programs face, provide recommendations on:
• ensuring that payments and collections support the sound, efficient, and transparent management of public financial resources;
• making government payment programs safe, reliable and cost-effective;
• ensuring that efforts to modernize government payment programs accelerate the development of national payments systems and promote financial inclusion.
The guidelines were developed in consultation with the International Advisory Group for Government Payments (IAG), which is composed of public sector officials from various countries, as well as NGOs and payment service providers. The guidelines are available at www.worldbank.org/paymentsystems.
MORE GOVERNMENT NEWS
Airtel Malawi licence renewedMacra has approved Airtel Malawi’s application to renew its operating licence. Read More
WAAPP embraces tech for agricultureThe West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP) in Nigeria has embraced the Electronic Technology Transfer (ETT) for agriculture. Read More
ITU: deep sense of loss over Nelson MandelaNelson Mandela, champion of downtrodden, wished to bridge digital divide, says the ITU in its tribute to the late statesman. Read More
BIH sets up clean tech centre of excellenceThe Botswana Innovation Hub has opened a Clean Tech Centre of Excellence to innovate in sustainable and environmentally sound solutions. Read More
Tributes stream in for Nelson MandelaFormer South African statesman and ‘father of the nation’ Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela has died at the age of 95. Read More
Govt, Lagos, telcos strike dealThe Federal Ministry of Communications Technology has ended the stand-off between the Lagos State government and the telcos, acting under the aegis of ALTON. Read More
Nigeria launches local content guidelinesNigeria’s Minister of Communication Technology has unveiled new local content guidelines for the Nigerian ICT sector. Read More
East Africa moves towards single currencyLeaders meeting at the 15th Ordinary Summit of the East African Community Heads of State in Kampala, Uganda, have moved a step closer to a single currency for the EAC. Read More
Malawi govt wary of digital migration deadlineThe Government of Malawi has said it is wary of fulfilling its plans to migrate to digital by December 31. Read More
FEATURED STORYGaming app introduces investors to trading
A new virtual stock market app is equipping would-be investors with the skills they need to trade.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHCorporate cyber security threats of the year
91% of organisations polled suffered a cyber-attack at least once in the past year, says Kaspersky Lab in its security review of 2013.
COMPANY NEWSMTN launches new positioning campaign for enterprise market
MTN Group today unveiled a new Pan-African brand positioning media campaign for MTN Business, its enterprise business unit.