The Government of Belize has made moves in its e-Governance agenda with the launch of a platform, which allows quick and easy payments for temporary employment permits. The launch took place this morning at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel. Dale McDougall attended and tells us more about it.
Dale McDougall, Love FM News: Transformative, revolutionary, game changer. That’s the type of verbiage being used to describe this latest step by the Government of Belize to make payments easier. The Ministries responsible for Labour, E-Governance and Finance teamed up with the Belize Bank to allow those applying for Temporary Employment Permits to pay for the application process using the bank’s digital wallet: E-Kyash. The Logistics and E-Governance minister, Michel Chebat, lauded this as yet a promise of plan Belize delivered.
Michel Chebat, Minister of E-Governance: “Understanding these needs and the willingness and passion of our teams, the E-Governance and Digitisation Unit, The Ministry of Finance and the Treasury Department initiated a project called ‘Supporting Electronic Payments’ to pilot a digital wallet solution for online payment of Government services. Our mission was to find the best solution that catered to the citizens’ realities to improve their experience.”
Dale McDougall, Love FM News: And that experience means getting a response to questions and queries quickly and the Ministry of Labour receiving payments promptly. Minister Oscar Requeña hailed today’s launch as one that revolutionises service delivery.
Oscar Requena, Minister of Labour: “This enhancement of our TEP system will provide a quicker and more transparent payment process. Therefore, employing the service delivery to the public by decreasing approval turnaround time especially to our major industries.”
Dale McDougall, Love FM News: Those industries, says Minister of State for Finance Chris Coye, rely on a lot of migrant workers. Many of those workers are in agriculture and without their contributions there may be damaging impacts on our economy.
Christopher Coye, Minister of State, Ministry of Finance: “Belize is a true melting pot of indigenous people and migrants from all over the world but mostly from our neighbouring countries. It is no secret that the farming of certain key commodities within our agriculture sector depend heavily on workers coming from those neighbouring sectors. Not having such labour support on a timely basis can mean crops being left to rot in the fields unharvested, reduced exports and millions upon millions of dollars in much needed foreign exchange lost.”
Dale McDougall, Love FM News: But from a local perspective, many of the people who may need the service from the Ministry of Labour are often underbanked or do not even have a bank account to start with. Belize Bank’s Executive Chairman Lyndon Guiseppi explained that the bank remains committed to National Development in this regard.
Lyndon Guiseppi, Executive Chairman, Belize Bank: “I’m extremely proud that we’ve been able to get to the point where we not only launched E-Kyash but we are collaborating with the Government of Belize in ensuring that citizens of this country have access to what I consider to be a pivotal, premiere, mobile wallet.”
Dale McDougall, Love FM News: While this is a public private/private partnership with three ministries and a bank, the business community also welcomed the innovative approach.
Marcelo Blake, President, Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry: “The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry has a long standing history of advocating for E-Governance and we’re happy to see the recent improvements of online business registration system and the electronic temporary employment TEP system both of which were launched in 2021. We are one step closer to redefining our ease of doing business core.”
Dale McDougall, Love FM News: For Love News, I’m Dale McDougall.