UPGRADED: Bahamas courts introduce cashless payments with govt’s DigiPay platform

UPGRADED: Bahamas courts introduce cashless payments with govt’s DigiPay platform
Magistrate's Court

DigiPay to be the future of govt revenue collection, says Thompson

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The government’s DigiPay platform, which was officially integrated into the courts yesterday, will boost the ease of doing business and is the future of government revenue collection, according to Minister of State for Finance Kwasi Thompson.

The government’s official DigiPay platform will allow for cashless transactions across all government agencies. It is owned by the government and was designed and developed by young Bahamian technologist Kristie Powell.

Thompson noted that DigiPay, which has been fully integrated in all courts, allows for real-time integration into the Treasury Financial Management System and ease of balancing at an agency level.

Minister of State for Finance Kwasi Thompson. (FILE PHOTO)

“The DigiPay Platform has allowed for collection of government revenue by debit and credit card in agencies and online,” said Thompson.

“As the Central Bank rolls out the country’s first digital currency, the DigiPay platform will allow for acceptance of Sand Dollars across government for payment of government revenue.

“As the government streamlines its financial processes, DigiPay’s ability to record revenue in real-time into the Treasury Financial Management System increases accountability and transparency in reporting of government revenue.”

He added: “DigiPay’s ability to record transactions in the accounting ledger of The Bahamas government facilitates ease of reporting and reconciliation to align government revenue streams with best practices.

“However, most importantly, for the public and Bahamian citizens, the DigiPay payment platform facilitates ease of doing business where clients have three options of payment for government services.”

Thompson noted that the Department of Immigration was the first institution to go completely cashless via the DigiPay platform in October of last year.

“Since then, it has seen a steady flow of revenue, with over 23,812 payments transacted over the new system as of March 24, 2021,” said Thompson.

“Additionally, DigiPay has been used to facilitate online payments for the government’s My Services Pilot Program, under which citizens can apply and pay for a range of government services online, including driver’s license renewals and birth, marriage and death certificates.

“Bahamians can finally avoid the hassle of going to government offices to stand on long lines. Instead, they can opt to receive the same services from the comfort of their homes.

“In the very near future, DigiPay will be available to the Port Department, the Department of Inland Revenue for real property tax collection, the Customs Department, the Road Traffic Department, the Registrar General’s Department, the Department of Labor and the Royal Bahamas Police Force.”

Registrar Camille Darville-Gomez noted: “Despite the fact that the use of debit and credit cards has been widely accepted in most businesses and government offices in The Bahamas, that has sadly not been the reality at any of the courts in The Bahamas.

“Therefore, it is a red-letter day for customers, including litigants and attorneys to the Magistrates Court, the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, to be able to pay court filing fees and other fees, fines and traffic tickets via debit and credit card.

“The convenience of the Bahamas Digital Payment Platform cannot be overestimated. It is hoped that in the future, with further infrastructural enhancements, these payments can be made online.

Chief Justice Sir Brian Moree. (BIS PHOTO/KRISTAAN INGRAHAM)

“In any event, the Judiciary is pleased to offer this service to our customers in New Providence with expansion into Grand Bahama very soon.”

Chief Justice Brian Moree noted: “DigiPay is a significant upgrade to the court’s service platform as we in the judiciary seek to improve our business processes to bring them in line with the expectation of court users.

“We want the business dealings of the courts and the use of our public access points to be comparable with the competitive standards in the private sector where members of the public are not inconvenienced or frustrated by inefficiencies, poor service and outdated business practices.”

About Natario McKenzie

Natario McKenzie is a senior business reporter at Eyewitness News. He has covered numerous local and international high-profile cases, including the Anna Nicole Smith death inquiry and the John Travolta extortion case. He joined the staff of Eyewitness News as a business reporter in 2019, reporting on domestic and international developments impacting The Bahamas and its business sector, with a keen focus on small business national advancement and development. In 2017, Natario was recognized by the Bahamas Press Club with two nominations for the “The Eric Wilmott Award for Investigative Journalism” and the “Social Media Award”.