The Forestry Department under the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment has embarked on plans to automate the services it offers to the public through the use of the Zamportal Government online payment system.
The Forestry Department under the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment is one of the institutions that collects non-tax revenue for the government. In 2022, the government has an ambitious target of raising more than 7 billion kwacha in non-tax revenue, this is going to be raised from Ministries, Provinces and spending agencies. In this regard, the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment has a target of raising one hundred and seventy-seven million kwacha to which the Forestry Department is supposed to contribute 90 million kwacha.
Therefore, in order to improve the collection of revenue, Ministry of Green Economy and Environment Permanent Secretary John Msimuko stated that the government is implementing an online payment system for all government agencies, through the use of an electronic gateway to all government services called the government service bus which provides continuous modernization to enhance collection of domestic resource mobilization by the government
Speaking during the workshop for training of trainers, the Permanent Secretary mentioned that in order to effectively implement this online payment system, the Ministry has collaborated with Smart Zambia Institute to train officers under the Ministry’s Forestry Department to equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge on the operation of the government service bus and this will also help the trainers to train revenue collectors in provinces and districts.
“I want to express my delight that Smart Zambia Institute (SZI) had started training Ministry personnel ahead of the roll – out of the automation of services provided by Forestry Department,” Mr Msimuko said
The Permanent Secretary explained that the use of the Zamportal for payment of fees for forestry permits and licenses provides advantages that will help the country transition to a 24/7 economy from the 8/5 economy, meaning that members of the public will be able to pay for services under the Ministry at any time and wherever they may be.
He further explained that, the system will lessen overcrowding at the offices and reduce on time taken to respond to applications for licenses, permits and all other services, as files for various services will be accessible anywhere. In addition, the Ministry will use less paper and subsequently reduce the use of carbon footprint as this will significantly contribute to the attainment of a green economy.
“We will be able to use our human resources much more efficiently because we will have less people interacting with the public to deliver these services” he stated
“Members of the public will be able to electronically access some of the services provided by our Ministry, as the services have been brought closer to them, and I therefore, urge all esteemed users of our services to embrace this development as it will help lower the cost of doing business with our Ministry as some of our clients live in far-flung areas of the country,” he added
Mr Msimuko has since called upon all the participants in the training to take it seriously by grasping all the necessary steps needed to ensure that the Department also joins other government institutions who are already on the online payment system.
“I urge all our officers in the Ministry particularly under the Forestry Department to make use of this platform by owning this process in order for us to save our clients better than before, and as trainers you will be expected collaborate with Smart Zambia institute to further train your colleagues in the department on the use of this important innovation,” Mr Msimuko said
Mr Msimuko has commended Smart Zambia institute for the continued cooperation in ensuring that the Ministry through the Forestry Department migrates to the online payment system for all the services provided.
“I wish to reiterate that the Ministry is ready to continue collaborate with Smart Zambia, as we further move forward with this initiative to provinces and districts in the country,” he noted
And Smart Zambia Institute National Coordinator Percy Chinyama expressed his institution’s continued commitment to contribute to national development through provision of services that enable Government services to be easily accessible online.