Bhutan has launched online payments for passport, business, education and traffic services, the Prime Minister announced yesterday.

“Wherever possible we must use e-payment so that our citizens will enjoy quick services,” Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay said in a Facebook post following the launch.

The e-payment service was developed by the Cabinet Secretariat along with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Trade, Bhutan Council for School Examination and Assessment and Ministry of Information and Communications.

The government built a national e-payment gateway which for the first time allows fund transfers between accounts from different banks via internet, mobile and ATM. The online services are available for customers of Bank of Bhutan, Bhutan National Bank and Druk Punjab National Bank.

This will “ensure end-to-end online solutions” for government services which were in the past “constrained from going online due to the lack of e-payment,” Tobgay said.

The second phase of this project will develop a “mobile money service” for Bhutanese without smartphones, the government has said. It is also looking at connecting infrastructure between India and Bhutan to allow for international payments for trade and tourism.

The e-payment service is part of Bhutan’s Government-to-Citizen project to simplify the delivery of public services. The project was this year brought directly into the Prime Minister’s Office “to make G2C services efficient and accountable”.

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Image from the Prime Minister’s Facebook page.