Barbadians will be able to renew and pay for their driver’s licences online by the end of June this year, or even sooner.
That assurance has come from Minister of Innovation, Science and Smart Technology (MIST), Senator Kay McConney, who said this will be facilitated through Government’s online payment platform, EZ Pay+.
She was speaking during an interview on CBC TV8’s Link Up programme, which examined the new “virtual reality” the country has found itself facing, due to COVID-19.
Other panellists included Acting Prime Minister and substantive Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Santia Bradshaw, and General Secretary of the Barbados Workers Union, Senator Toni Moore.
Ms. McConney pointed out that a number of government payments were already made online and since its re-launch last September, a significant amount of revenue had been collected through EZ Pay+.
She cited land tax, the Official Gazette, Corporate Affairs services and national insurance as examples of the transactions which were being made through the digital payment platform. She also disclosed that her Ministry was in the process of developing a digital ID.
“As we place our services online, we need to have an ID that has trust online and therefore the development of a digital ID, which is that ID that you use when you want to transact business online, and that can be trusted, that is where Barbados is now in terms of developing that. And once that ID is in place and we can build the relationships internationally that can link into that ID both locally and internationally, we will find that our capacity to do business in digital will be greatly enhanced and more services will become accessible to us,” she explained.
Additionally, Senator McConney said placing more services online was part of Barbados’ modernization programme, which has made it possible to apply for a Police Certificate of Character online.
She said there were now 48 professional licences which persons could renew online, adding that there were plans to have two other types of licences – those for doctors and lawyers – added to that pool once all of the processes were “fine-tuned and aligned”.
Meanwhile, the Minister noted that the country was making advances in the digitization of government records, even though that process was “slowed” somewhat by the emergence of COVID-19.
She said the pilot for the Electronic Documents and Records Management System for the public service had already kicked off with the digitization of records at MIST and the Immigration Department.
The pilot is expected to be completed in another three months. “Then we will know what it will take for us to scale up and then we can scale up to the rest of government at a faster pace. So, you pilot it and then scale up … so that will move much of the paper into electronic form,” Senator McConney said.