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    Signing a Cooperation Protocol with the Ministry of Finance to Activate the e-Government Services

    Cairo, 7 February 2013

    Finance Minister, ‘shifting to an electronic system to manage government daily work will make a breakthrough in the public services.
     ‘Governmental electronic approval is available in 25 public agencies, including Council of Ministers.’
    ‘2.4  billion savings for one day reduction of time consumed for Egyptian imports customs clearance.’
    ICT Minister: ‘New programs and services offered by the government through E-signature applications and personal emails.’
    ‘Treatment on State’s expense system to be automated and health directorates will be electronically linked to Council of Ministers for better control.’

    Finance Minister, Dr. El Morsi El Sayed Hegazy and Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Mr. Atef Helmy signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

    The MoU is intended to activate electronic government services, build a technological community among government employees, thus contributing to the reduction of the required costs for public services provision.

    This is achieved through the use of standardized infrastructure in all government ministries, its departments and public bodies, with the consideration of standard specifications to maintain safety, security and confidentiality of the information exchange system.

    Dr. Hegazy said that the agreement with MCIT emphasizes supporting and activating e-signature applications and developing email system among ministries and public bodies.

    This allows benefiting of government electronic certification services to assure validity and matching of circulated documents with personal identification of signatories and authenticators, a system that the Ministry of Finance oversees its construction through Government Electronic Certification Authority Gov-AC.

    Moreover, the Finance Minister has stated that the MoU comes in line with the efforts of the government of Dr. Hisham Kandil to enhance and improve daily performance of the various ministries, government agencies and departments.
    Efforts are also exerted to tighten control on daily performance for these bodies; assure their commitment to rules and legal systems, as well as to financial allowances listed for these bodies under the law of general budget without exceeding it.

    This is accomplished through shifting away from a paper-based government information and document exchange system to an electronic encrypted one, characterized by highest degree of confidentiality to protect the economic security of Egypt.

    This step, Dr. Hegazy has added, comes after finalizing the electronic link between Gov-CA authority affiliated with the Ministry of Finance and Root-CA authority represented by the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA), affiliated to MCIT.

    ITIDA issued the operating permit no. 2012/1for Gov-CA, allowing the onset of electronic service provision among the various government bodies.
    Dr. Hegazy has explained that these steps support government work system to achieve a breakthrough in the quality of services provided for citizens such as treatment on State’s expense, where procedures will be automated.

    Furthermore, services to facilitate transactions with revenue departments such as taxes, customs or electronically cashing salaries and pensions, as well as the ambitious government program of electronically cashing suppliers’ payments. This is to finalize the system of automating budget implementation phases for the country.

    Dr. Hegazy has confirmed that the Ministry of Finance will start strengthening and activating all government applications related to high confidential electronic ratifications and the use of government codes for the first time in the history of the Egyptian government.

    This is to enhance government daily performance, and most importantly to maintain the confidentiality of data and information as an essential part of Egypt’s national security.

    His Excellence has added that the future electronic application system will be established with pure Egyptian innovative thoughts, in terms of used programs and applications with the collaboration of MCIT and IT sectors in government and private sector, granting utmost security and confidentiality of circulated information.

    Beside its reliance on the internet, the system also depends on government networks to manage political, financial, diplomatic and security crises promptly, as well as providing an electronic strategic and high confidential communication system, he has noted.

    Dr. Hegazy has referred to an international study that revealed the Egyptian economy achieving returns worth of 2.4 billion pounds by saving one day in the time of imports clearance, thanks to the automation of customs duties payment methods.
    This indicates the amount of money that could be saved directly and indirectly by moving to a controlled electronic system to run work at government entities, in addition to raising the efficiency of transactions and service delivery with cost and time reduction.

    Moreover, he has announced that the Ministry of Finance, with the collaboration of MCIT, will support Egyptian government applications with integration programs to activate e-signature and government encryption systems in these applications.

    The finance minister also commented that this is to develop and not alter them, in order to preserve and benefit of all government investments that were pumped in earlier periods in these systems, which is the case in numerous government applications at the Ministry of Health as an example.

    He has further clarified that the Ministry of Finance is currently activating the use of government electronic certifications in treatment at the State’s expense, a project in which MCIT linked health directorates in all governorates to the public bureau of the Ministry of Health in Egypt and to the Council of Ministers to issue decisions for treatment at the State’s expense electronically and monitor their implementation at once.

    Dr. Hegazy has also announced the signing of cooperation agreements and protocols with, so far, 25 government entities to provide government electronic certification services, issued by Gov-CA.

    These entities are: General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers, MCIT, Interior Ministry, Ministry of Information, Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, Ministry of State for Local Development, Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs, Ministry of Housing and New Urban Communities, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Endowments, Ministry of State for Military Production and Ministry of Commerce and Industry (commercial Representation).

    The government entities also include Supreme Council of Universities, governorates of Cairo, South Sinai, Damietta, Beni Suef, Port Said, Matrouh, Menoufia, Gharbia.

    This is in addition to Sohag University, Academy of the Arabic Language, Egyptian Tax Authority, Ministry of Commerce and Industry (cultural Affairs and missions).

    Currently, cooperation with the Investment Authority, its clients and the Ministry of Administrative Development is undergoing to activate government electronic certification in document exchange system at Government-to-Government (G2G), a project that links government bodies to exchange services and documents, he has concluded.

    For his part, Mr. Helmy has asserted that the MOU will enable MCIT, in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance, to develop basic technological infrastructure, established by the Ministry of Finance to build a government email center and connect it with the government electronic certification center, with an investment cost of 20 million pounds.

    Working through a secure encrypted network, the two centers are to link all units of the Ministry of Finance electronically to numerous ministries, public agencies and departments, commercial banks and the Central Bank.

    ICT Minister has denoted that MCIT plans to use this structure in its initiative to promote production and efficiency. The initiative, through which MCIT aims to provide and modernize new IT services and applications offered by various government bodies through personal citizen emails, was recently announced.

    The goal is to build a knowledge society for government staff, more than 6.2 million employees, thus increasing production and efficiency of services provided to citizens.

    Moreover, Mr. Helmy has also stated that MCIT is to support the system to complete connecting all government departments, agencies and ministries, as well as offering technical advice and assisting in the establishment of a substitute center to work in the electronic certification system and exchange governmental emails.

    This is in addition to the existing main center, guaranteeing security and confidentiality of the circulated government documents, files and information, coupled with assuring service continuity with no interruptions.

    Mr. Helmy has concluded by noting that MCIT will provide, through ITIDA, technical advice for disputes that may arise among electronic system parties, which use government electronic certification and government codes.

    During the event, Minister of Finance's advisor and the Executive Director of Gov-AC, Dr. Maged Al Gendi has stressed that the vital commitment of Gov-CA is to issue digital certificates and train government staff on their use.

    Additionally, Gov-CA is determined to assist in supporting certificates’ applications and provide them with digital e-signature technology and government encryption systems.

    This is to support government applications and offer support and assistance to all government bodies participating at Gov-CA system, thus ensuring commitment to agreed standards, especially information security and confidentiality.

    As for the use of digital e-signature fields, Dr. Al Gendi has indicated their abundance and variance, among which is the use of government signatures in letters of various government financial transaction applications with legal authenticity, in accordance with articles 14 and 18 of e-signature regulating law no.15 for 2004.

    This is in addition to the prospect of encrypting e-messages directed to one person or a group of people, identifying sender and verifying signature, providing remittance service and checking signature and individual transactions in buying and selling via the internet.

    There is also the granting of authentication certificates for websites, which serves citizens such as websites of banks, universities, institutes.

    This is coupled with estate authentication, meaning that these sites are authenticated and do posses government electronic certification, thus granting people confidence and motivation. Lastly, there is also the issuing of tax acknowledgment letters by verifying their owners.

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