Government to make IFMIS public


Government says it will make its payment system, the Integrated Financial Management Information Systems (IFMIS) available to the public and private sector.

Principal Secretary for E-government Francis Bisika speaking in Blantyre on Wednesday said the current administration wants all citizens and businesses to be able to induct their business with Government online.

He added private user developers will also have access: "As government we have made a decision to delegate certain roles withing government to certain departments or ministries so what we are saying is IFMIS is only a payment platform, so whether you are paying at Immigration or Road Traffic, eventually that money has to he accounted for in the IFMIS.

"All we are saying is we want to have the IFMIS hosted at a place where it is accessible to anybody, not only Airtel money or TNM, if you are going to develop your payment platform where people can make payments to government, we will incorporate that into our system," the PS said.


Bisika explaining how this will work said they will introduce a National Data Centre, an Enterprise Service Bus which is a platform to allow people from within government and outside government to connect to government systems. 

On issues of cyber threats and hackers Bisika said: "There will be a platform sitting between government system and public, private systems so this platform will be fully secure in terms of hacking and everything else. 

"There will be multiple layers systems of secure, from the platform itself, for people to access the ifmis there are going to be certain parameters before they go through, they must pass through the Enterprise Service Bus. This will be the main gain and there will also be authentication at the system level. You need the right parameters to get it."

Bisika said their officers are being trained and added the law including e-transaction and cybersecurity will be enforced to prosecute people committing crimes.

Experts react 

Experts Kulinji engaged who opted for anonymity said on the issues of security Bisika's answers were vague at most.

They cited the loopholes, backdoors that can be infiltrated in the Enterprise Service Bus.

The experts said there will have to be reconciliation issues with companies inorder to go through the system. 

"Security will be paramount, there will be issues of preserving data integrity, so most definitely there has to be digital certificates," he said.

Another thing the experts talked about was the usage of Virtual Private Networks (VPN's).

According to experts, the issue of the National Data Centre is yet to materialise.

But some sources confided in our reporter of construction of such a centre at the Accountant General's office. 


Kabambe gave the timeframe 

Public Private Partnership Commission (PPPC) Chief Executive Officer Patrick Kabambe said the project will provide internet connectivity to 500 public institutions to allow high quality public sector operations on the basis of good connectivity.

Final request for bids is expected to be approved by the World Bank before June 2021 with project contracts signing in July 2021.

"Completion  of the connection to all 500 sites will be achieved the July 2022. Implemetantion of the the systems should be concluded hy the end of the calendar year 2021," he said.