|From left: Director of the Data Processing Department (ag.), Eustace Russell; Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Chris Sinckler; Commissioner of Land Tax, Wayne Forde and Team Leader for the eZpay project, Quincy Yarde, at the launch ceremony. (A. Miller/BGIS)|
Effective Monday, July 23, persons desirous of paying their land tax bills will now be able to do so online.
Word of this has come from Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Chris Sinckler, as he launched the eZpay service at the Data Processing Department (DPD), Baobab Towers today. It was developed by the DPD in conjunction with iPay Inc. Other Government departments will be added at a later date as the system evolves into a comprehensive government customer service portal.
The system will allow persons to log on to Barbados’ Integrated Government (BIG) Internet Portal and use electronic interactive channels and other information communication technology infrastructure to pay their bills and thus eliminate persons having to come to agencies and stand in a queue.
Mr Sinckler said: "eZpay will provide all participating Government agencies with the ability to collect electronically taxes, duties, fees, or monies paid, and is a convenient way for individuals and businesses to pay the various Government agencies using web technology from virtually anywhere."
He noted that the procedure was cost effective and would provide "several benefits to the Government of Barbados in the form of reduced costs and improved customer service delivery".
"eZpay does much more than just provide an epayment facility. It also allows users who have registered to use the service to view their balances and query their payment histories, at the touch of a key anytime and from anywhere, and of course, from a variety of devices.
"In addition, from the citizens’ perspective, eZpay is bank agnostic-whereas a person registering as a user of eZpay may use the service to settle their accounts at participating Government agencies using the bank account of their choice as long as the user is a legitimate owner of the account and the bank is located within the Barbados jurisdiction," he pointed out.
Minister Sinckler added: "The Republic Bank… provides the interface to the automatic clearing house … [it is] the bank’s network through which payment transactions are securely cleared by the direct debiting of the users’ designated bank accounts. Use of this direct debit results in significant cost savings in transaction fees when compared to the use of the regular credit cards."
He continued: "Several of our ministries, departments and agencies are heavily engaged in accepting payments whether from recurring services such as public utilities, occasionally issued permits and licences, quarterly or annual tax payments or various other one-time fees or even fines.
"As a result, there are thousands of financial transactions between Government agencies, citizens and businesses everyday, many of which involve cash, cheques and, of course, a manual process."
Individuals may?? access the service from anywhere via the internet, using?? the device of their choice, laptop computers, Blackberrys, iPhones and tablets such as the iPad at no cost to the user.