PESHAWAR: After Prime Minister Imran Khan launched the ‘Digital Pakistan’ initiative last month – a free program with the mission to train over one million people in developing digital skills – the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government is now setting up Citizen Facilitation Centers (CFCs) in Peshawar.
For the purpose, the government has already sent instructions to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Technology Board (KPITB) to start the project. Initially, the desk will facilitate citizens in seven major departments including excise, water and sanitation services, board of revenue, home department, the office of the deputy commissioner and the police, the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) and the local government.
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According to the KPITB officials, CFCs will work just like NADRA but the facilitation services will be offered on a provincial level, adding that the project will be expanded in future to include other departments.
Officials believe that the CFCs, which are being set up on par with international standards, will allow citizens to pay their bills electronically, without having to physically visit the departments.
“This is going to be a cashless system—digital payments and papers would now be sent digitally,” the director of KPITB Dr Shahbaz told The Express Tribune.
Shahbaz said that a similar system is already successfully running in Punjab and Sindh, and K-P will now become the third province to adopt the technology. He also said that the centers will be launched by June 2020 in Gulbahar, Saddar and Hayatabad areas of the provincial capital.
“The CFCs will not only ease the process of payments by allowing people to pay electronically but it will also make different procedures more transparent,” Shahbaz explained. “During the first year, the project will incur a cost of Rs220million, in addition to the cost of setting up the infrastructure which will be around Rs80million.”
Shahbaz also stated that the departments are already included in the system and the IT team is currently resolving some minor issues.
“As soon as other departments are also taken on board, the CFCs will be expanded to all the districts of K-P in the third phase of the project,” he said.
The directions for setting up CFCs were issued by the chief minister of K-P Mehmood Khan in a meeting held last month, where he said that the centres will also be expanded to the divisional headquarters and the recently-merged tribal districts in the next fiscal year to provide swift and easy services to the masses.
Apart from the CFCs, K-P has also initiated several other digital projects, including the establishment of a digital reporting hub called Itlah in police stations across the province. Besides, the conversion of old arms license into smart cards, Peshawar Smart City Project, e-office at the CM Secretariat, office automation project for the office of provincial cabinet, e-verification colleges and universities documents, online registration portal for the simplification of business activities and the establishment of an online job portal for recruitment in different departments is also under process.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th, 2020.
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