Online billing software piloting in two assemblies

Following its commitment to bring full automation into the revenue collection management cycle in Ghana, Revnet Limited has introduced the Point of Sale (POS) device and online Billing application software (BillSoftManger) service to the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA) and Cape Coast Metropolitan Assembly (CCMA) as a pilot.

The POS devices would used for the collection of tolls in the market, lorry parks and street parking. These devices are wirelessly linked directly to the STMA and CCMA Electronic Banking System for Revenue Cycle Management (EBS-RCM) and online portals that can be monitored from the comfort of their offices.

The introduction of the devices would save the cost of printing these toll tickets and aid monitoring. The project is in the period of dissemination of information and education about the new mode of collection after which the implementation of the pilot would soon commence.

On the other hand, the BillSoftManager, refers to the electronic banking system bill online service which facilitates access to bills of prospective payers (companies/individuals) from anywhere, any Paypoint, agent or bank. Payers should be able to access their bills from the comfort of their homes and offices as well so far as they have their Payer ID and Assessment Reference number.

RevNet Limited is a Ghanaian IT Service Provider Company that seeks to tailor the revenue tracking, monitoring and collection management service to meet the requirements of the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies and other institutions in a least-cost, low risk and most responsive manner.
The objective of this project is to design, develop, implement and deploy a web based solution that will ensure online billing and reporting for the use of all stake holders such as clients (Assemblies and SHC), banks and rate-payers. This will ensure availabilty of billing information and the enhance client satifaction in terms of service delivery. Ignorance of the law, they say is no excuse and the bye-laws state that ‘ it shall be the duty of every persion liable to pay these rates to settle the amount thereof at the offices of the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) or their accredited Agencies on or before 30th March every year’.

Thus, the onus is on the paying public to effect payment of their rate obligations to the Various Assemblies with or without a bill, this inovation is bound to reduce cost of treking to various locations for copies of their bills for the paying public and the cost of sending collectors to distribute bills for the MMDAs.

The scope of this project is to leverage on the present version of BillSoft application, integrate major components and make available customer billing and payment information on the internet using a published web portal. This project will cover all current mandates of Revnet with the Assemblies and State Housing Company (SHC) for their ground rents.

Bill presentment is one of the processess within the ebs-rcm cycle that involves assessing rate-payers by the MMDA & SHC, capturing such information into the ebs-rcm database and generating bills for omward distribution and payment thereof. The bill generation is managed by Revent from the respective main offices of the clients.

There is usually a disconnet between pay-points, banks and local client offices where bills are being printed. This becomes obvious in the event that payers do not show up with bills and vital information for posting of transactions such as the Payer ID, bill assessment reference, amount and revenue code.

The Payer ID (Payer Indentification Number) is a unique number that opens the payer to all his/her details on the ebs-rcm database. The payer can use the Payer ID to access his/her information without a bill in hand. It is comparable to the account number of the customer of a bank and should be known by the payer at all times.

The STMA workshop was facilitated by a team from Revnet for collectors from all markets within the metropolis. In attendance was the STMA Revenue Mobilization Officer (RMO), James Amoasi.

Sekondi and Kojokrom markets were earmarked for the POS pilot project and as part of the programme, a team from Revnet, together with the RMO, paid working visits to these markets. The objective was to introduce the device to the market Queen-mothers and the Queens for their buy-in and to disseminate the information to the other market women. They also interacted with the women in both markets.

The market women were grateful that they had been selected for the pilot and confirmed their support to ensure that revenue generation from their markets is efficiently collected.

In another development, the Management of Revnet, in line with its obligation to build STMA staff capacity by leveraging on the EBS-RCM software to administer, monitor and check the revenue mobilization activities on a real time basis, made a presentation of ICT equipment to the Metropolitan Assembly. The items presented included five desktop computers, five laptop computers and five UPS and formed the second phase of such initiative.

The equipment were received by the Metropolitan Coordinating Director (MCD) of STMA, Abdulai Zakari on behalf of the Captain (Rtd) Anthony R. Cudjoe, the Metropolitan Chief Executive of the Assembly.

In his response to the gesture, the MCD acknowledged that STMA and Revnet are in a relationship that has spanned over two years and was at the point where there is a need for a collaborative effort to take the project to the next level. He acknowledged that even though there had been challenges on both sides, they have always worked to overcome them. He believed that the equipment had come at the right time.

He also noted that the physical collection was not as important as the capacity building process and hence, Revnet’s presentation was a clear evidence of their commitment to partner STMA to enhance the collection of its Internally Generated Funds. The essence of the Electronic Payment Clearance Card (e-PCC) was also noted.

The e-PCC is a panacea to revenue collection. It is an electronic card that has an embedded chip with a photo for an individual payer and without a photo for corporate. It serves as a certificate of payment for the payer and holds the transactional history of the payer. To obtain an e-PCC, the payer should go to the relative Assembly and fill out the relevant registration forms.