ICTA and Dialog empower mobile payment on Lanka Gate

Friday, 29 November 2013 02:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) and Dialog Axiata PLC entered into an agreement recently, enabling consumers to use their Dialog phone number to make payments online for Government e-services. Government e-service recipients can soon make payments for any Government e-service through their Dialog mobile phones. Up to now, online payment could be made only through debit/credit cards. The exchange of the documents of agreement took place at the Central Bank premises on Tuesday, 26 November, when the inauguration of the Mobile Payment and Transaction Service – eZ Cash facility was announced. ICTA Chairman, Senior Presidential Advisor and Peradeniya Chancellor Prof. P.W. Epasinghe, Dialog Axiata PLC Group Chief Executive Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya, ICTA Director/Legal Advisor Jayantha Fernando and Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal and Deputy Governor Ananda Silva were present at the occasion. The Mobile Payment and Transaction Service - eZ Cash is made on Lanka Gate, a key national software infrastructure implemented by ICTA, which is envisioned to be the gateway for electronic information and electronic delivery in Sri Lanka. It is envisioned by the e-Sri Lanka initiative that practically all the electronic services (e-services) and electronic information in Sri Lanka will be delivered via Lanka Gate. In order to facilitate the transactional services offered via the Lanka Gate initiative and other transactional services offered from other Government organisations, ICTA has obtained the Internet Payment Gateway (IPG) services from acquiring banks for Visa/MasterCard franchise and American Express franchise. Lanka Government Payment Service (LGPS) is another initiative that was initiated and developed by ICTA to enable multiple payment options for e-services offered via the Lanka Gate initiative and other services from Government organisations. This service provides a single window for all electronic payment mechanisms with a single integration point. The LGPS simplifies the approach for the Government to interface with electronic payment mechanisms while enabling citizens and businesses to enjoy multiple payment options. Since its launch on 30 December 2009, along with its first e-Government transactional e-service, ICTA has commenced implementing a number of e-services leveraging Lanka Gate to offer Government services online to citizens. In addition to the Lanka Gate initiative, ICTA is working in collaboration with a number of other Government organisations to extend services of some of the core applications of Lanka Gate, to be leveraged by the information systems and online solutions being implemented by those organisations. ICTA contracted an acquiring bank as an Internet Payment Gateway (IPG) service provider in 2009 via public tender, to obtain IPG services for the e-services implemented by ICTA. It covers only VISA and MasterCard franchises and ICTA later engaged with another acquiring bank providing IPG services for the American Express (AMEX) franchise. Since the rationale of the LGPS is to provide multiple payment options, ICTA is in the process of engaging with all other acquiring banks which provide IPG services for VISA and MasterCard franchise. Apart from IPGs, ICTA intends to engage with mobile payment mechanisms which adhere to the specifications and guidelines of LGPS. It is in this context that ICTA entered into an agreement with Dialog Axiata to engage Dialog Axiata PLC as a mobile payment service provider on the ICTA-initiated Lanka Gate. The mobile payment service scope primarily includes all transactional online services integrated with LGPS and Government organisations accepting mobile payments over the counter. The mobile payment services to accept mobile payments of online solutions implemented by Government organisations, where ICTA is also a key stakeholder, are at the discretion of the respective Government organisation. Lanka Gate, the electronic transaction gateway to public service agencies of the Government of Sri Lanka, facilitates citizens and enterprises to make payments via the Lanka Government Payment Service (LGPS). Lanka Gate is the national software infrastructure implemented by ICTA, within the scope of the e-Sri Lanka initiative of the Government of Sri Lanka. Commenting on the inauguration of the facility for mobile payment for Government e-services, ICTA Chairman Professor P. W. Epasinghe said: “This is an important milestone for a service-oriented Government in serving those who need Government services.” Pointing out the relevance of the mobile device in view of the wide use of mobile devices, the Professor added: “Mobile penetration in Sri Lanka is far greater than any other electronic medium. Therefore, leveraging on mobile as a payment mechanism for Government paying services will pave the way for citizens who are either reluctant to use their credit/debit cards or don’t have credit/debit cards to obtain Government services.” The integration of mobile payment services through eZ Cash supplements the existing Internet Payment Gateway (IPG) services already available on Lanka Government Payment Service (LGPS) encompassing Visa, MasterCard and American Express payment instruments. The integration of eZ Cash makes Lanka Gate the first e-Government services portal in South Asia to provide an expansive set of citizen payment options encompassing mobile and internet payment. eZ Cash is operated by Dialog Axiata PLC – Sri Lanka’s mobile market leader and premier connectivity provider. eZ Cash operates under the aegis of the Payments and Settlements Act No. 28 of 2005 and is regulated by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. “We are honoured to have been selected as the mobile payments provider to Lanka Gate,” said Dialog Axiata PLC Group Executive Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya. “The integration of eZ Cash within the Lanka Government Payment Service environment takes Sri Lanka a step closer to an era where the mobile phone is rendered a principal and inclusive electronic payment instrument in the hands of Sri Lankan citizens.”