KATHMANDU, June 26: Government offices in Kathmandu Valley are adopting electronic bill payment system from July 16.
Once the new system comes into effect, firms selling products and services to government agencies will get payment directly into their bank accounts, eliminating the time consuming process of releasing payments. Officials also say that the new system will end corruption connected to payment by government offices and agencies to some extent. The new system is also believed to make government expenditure more transparent.
Rajendra Prasad Nepal, secretary of Financial Comptroller General Office (FCGO), said the new system is being implemented as a pilot project. “Once this e-payment system comes into effect, firms selling products or services to government offices do not have to go to government offices for payment. They can receive payment directly into their bank accounts,” added Nepal.
Under the new system, FCGO will make payments to bank accounts of recipients within few hours of receiving hard copies of bills from different government agencies.
The new payment system will end the practice of making payment through bank checks.
“The new system will make payments more transparent. It is an initiative to improve service delivery by making proper use of information technology,” Nepal added.
Once the new payment system is implemented, private sector, particularly contractors, suppliers and consultants who provide services and supplies to the government, will be relieved from the hassles that they have to face while getting payments from different government agencies.
Jayaram Lamichhane, an ‘A’ class contractor, welcomed the new payment system. He, however, added that adoption of new system alone will not work until the attitude of concerned government officials is changed. “We have been paying commission to government officials from the date of signing contract to receiving final payment,” added Lamichhane.
Some privately-owned firms like eSewa are already providing electronic payments. The firm is offering services ranging from payment of Internet bills to buying movie and airline tickets, and paying bill of utilities, among others.
Commenting on the government plan to embrace electronic payment system, Asgar Ali, CEO of eSewa, said: “Launching of online payment system is the beginning of using technology in payments.”
Similarly, Subhash Sapkota, CEO of Bidhee Pvt Ltd, said that the government decision to adopt electronic payment system will help to formalize payments received through Internet in Nepal.