The Municipality of Priboj, the winner of the "Cashless Payments Champions" competition, was awarded the first prize - new computers and other IT equipment worth 20,000 euros, which will be waiting for the Mechanical and Electrical Engineering School students next school year, but also help the local administration to improve electronic communication with citizens and provide better services.
The citizens of Priboj deserved the first place by using cards the most times from July to the end of 2019, in the competition of 60 local governments, in order to pay charges, fees and taxes at the local government counter. Due to the changed circumstances brought by the Coronavirus pandemic, the organizers and the Municipality agreed to redirect the funds provided for the main prize from the children's playground to school equipment and modernization of equipment in public administration, which proved more necessary during the state of emergency.
The competition under the slogan "Pay by Card and Win" was organized by the Government's Office for IT and eGovernment in cooperation with NALED, and with the support of Mastercard and Visa. As part of the competition, POS terminals were introduced free of charge at the local governments’ counters, which is a special benefit for the citizens of these areas who paid 13,500 charges, fees and taxes worth more than 20 million dinars in six months - without going to the post office or bank and unnecessary waiting in lines.
- In the meantime, we have introduced another 400 POS terminals at the counters of institutions in more than 100 local governments, including the counters of the Traffic Police and Cadaster, so as to enable citizens to pay fees with a card or mobile phone instantly and get everything done in one place, quickly and safely. The Coronavirus pandemic virus highlighted the importance of developing cashless and contactless payments, which, in a situation when it is necessary to avoid crowds and reduce physical contact to a minimum, have an undoubted advantage over cash - said the Director of the Office for IT and eGovernment, Mihailo Jovanović.
These are, among other things, the reasons why electronic payment for public administration services has found its place among the priorities of the recently adopted eGovernment Development Program until 2022, in the creation of which, along with the Office for IT and eGovernment, NALED participated, with the support of the United Kingdom’s Good Governance Fund, through the UNDP, as well as the European Union within the Public Administration Reform project.
The Head of the Competitiveness Unit in NALED, Dragana Ilić, says that a third of the population has already heard about the possibility of paying at public administration’s POS terminals, and the campaign "Cashless Payments Champions " and the support of Visa and Mastercard are responsible for that. Research also shows a steady increase in confidence in this type of payment.
- The use of cards has increased by almost 14% in the past year, and now half of the citizens point out that they make cashless payments, mainly because it is easier for them. More than 8.2 million cards were issued in Serbia, but the number of POS terminals per capita is still more than twice lower compared to the EU average, so it is necessary to continue developing the infrastructure for cashless payments in the private and public sector - concludes Ilić.