ICT to transform Govt operations

Dr Misheck Sibanda

Dr Misheck Sibanda

Happiness Zengeni in VICTORIA FALLS
Government is in the process of re-configuring, recreating and modernise public administration systems using information communication technology (ICT).

Already 11 applications under the e-government initiative have gone live in a bid to improve service delivery

In a speech read on his behalf at the ongoing African Tax Administration Forum’s High Level Conference on ICT here in Victoria Falls, Dr Misheck Sibanda said the applications had gone live for all projects that are riding on the already existing Public Finance Management System hardware infrastructure and Enterprise Resources Planning ERP licences.

He said some of the applications include the new Land Information Management System which also includes an online application for land.

“The system has a number of models. Of critical importance is the module on real estate which offers an integrated real estate management solution with functionalities such as land inventory database, land acquisition, gazetting, and land allocation as well as estate management that handles billing and land contract offers or leases.

“The system is able to detect double land allocation, dual contract offers or leases and facilitates collection of farm rental levies or fees.”

Other applications include the Online Liquor Licence Application and Processing System under the Ministry of Local Government Rural and Urban Development, the Online Prospecting Licence application and processing systems in the Ministry of Mines, Online Company Registration and Deeds Transfer System in the Justice Ministry and e-visa application under Home Affairs.

Dr Sibanda said Government recognises the importance of revenue generation and collection and in that respect has identified e-taxation as one of the flagship projects for implementation.

Under the e-taxation project, all domestic taxes, customs and excise will be covered. As part of the on-going process, Zimra is also introducing a Tax Management System using fiscal devices.

“This will widen tax collections as it will cover the Small and Medium Enterprises and the informal sector.”

Zimra Commissioner-General Gershem Pasi said the authority will soon pilot automated revenue machines. Zimra will also be launching an e-service platform that will enable the public to carry out self-service in terms of payment and filing tax returns as well as viewing their tax status online.

Dr Sibanda said that all projects will be built on the robust ICT platform and network that has been built by the Government for Zimra as a precursor to the roll out of the e-government programme.

At the conference, the South African Revenue Services said it had witnessed an improvement in service delivery after adopting ICT.

“We have increased the number of electronic transactions to over 98 percent for both return submission and payments.

“In 2006, SARS cost to revenue ratio was above that of IMF benchmark, but due to digitisation are now below that norm.

“Turnaround times of IT return assessment has decreased from 180 days to a mere 3 seconds for 95 percent of the returns filed. And electronic payments make up the bulk of the revenue collected,” said an SARS official.

The official said SARS achieved these benefits, through a structured framework.

“We realised that increasing the capability for taxpayers to digitally serve themselves delivers huge productivity gains.

“We implemented a continuous improvement cycle. Starting with measuring the performance and cost of the processes, through in-depth analysis, assessing our forms and drastically reducing the number of pages, making these viable for automation, removing non-value adding process tasks whilst amending legislation and policies.”

Meanwhile, Commissioner Pasi told journalists in a sit and talk briefing that the scheduled Asycuda maintenance was now complete and that the delays in processing cargo at the border was now resolved.

“We are happy with the results that are showing to date after the upgrade. We had to switch off the lines and revert to the manual process as we had to upgrade to a completely new system.

“Of course like any other new system, it suffered hiccups but I am happy to say the issue has now been resolved and we are happy with the results that are showing to date.”