KATHMANDU, July 21: Financial Comptroller General Office (FCGO) has postponed its plan of introducing e-Payment system, stating that it needs to do more homework to strengthen the system and make it more secure.
Earlier, FCGO had announced to introduce e-Payment system in Kathmandu Valley from July 16 as a pilot project. The office is yet to fix the new date.
Officials of FCGO said lack of needful preparation by three state-owned banks is one of the reasons that have pushed implementation of e-Payment system behind.
Once implemented, the system will eliminate the existing practice of issuing checks by the government agencies and departments. Firms supplying products and services to government agencies will receive payments directly into their bank accounts from FCGO's local accounts.
FCGO units issue instructions to banks through online system and banks directly transfer the amounts to receivers' accounts. This will reduce time taken for payments to about few hours from weeks and even months. FCGO hopes that the system will also end the practice of government staffers seeking kickbacks for issuing checks.
FCGO Spokesman Kebal Prasad Bhandari said that preparations were on to launch online payments system. "Work of strengthening the system and making it more secure is going on. We also need to put the system into trail before implementing it,” added Bhandari.
Though FCGO had earlier said that all its units in Kathmandu Valley will embrace e-Payment system from July 16, only Unit No. 4 situated in Singhadurbar premises will start making online payments initially.
Some banks, including the government banks, have not adopted the integrated payment system. Similarly, few commercial banks are still to be member of Nepal Clearing House Limited (NCHL) - the check clearing agency.
Deputy Financial Comptroller General Yadu Nath Bhattarai said that some of the banks are still unprepared to implement the new system. “Some banks are yet to be member of NCHL. Preparations are going on in full swing to implement the system,” he added.
Five banks are involved in government's payment systems.
"Nepal Rastra Bank and Everest Bank are all prepared. But Rastriya Banijya Bank has sought some more time, while Agricultural Development Bank and Nepal Bank Limited are still not prepared," added Bhattarai.
Bhandari said that the government also has plans to pay social security allowances through online payment system.