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Ministry launches biometric payment pilot
[January 06, 2006]

Ministry launches biometric payment pilot

( Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)Bolivia's finance ministry began on Friday (Jan 6) a pilot program using a biometric system to govern salary payments to its employees, with the first user being finance minister Waldo Gutirrez, treasury director Liliana Riveros told BNamericas.

The system has proved necessary because regular payment by depositing checks in employees' accounts is subject to various forms of fraud, such as employees claiming extra checks using false identities.

In March or April, when the pilot program is concluded, the biometric system will be used to pay out the salaries of some 200,000 civil servants and 160,000 pensioners, who will identify themselves by fingerprint in order to receive their salary or pension.

The system uses Identix hardware along with applications developed internally at the ministry in order to reduce the overall system cost, said Riveros.

Some 30 biometric scanners are currently in place at government agencies, but when the system is fully operational it will include 56 points of payment nationwide, many with multiple scanners. This is by virtue of a contract signed between the Bolivian government and three private banks, which have also made a significant investment in the system, said Riveros.

The biometric system is designed to ensure transparency in the disbursement of public funds by avoiding fraud, thus allowing the country to take a great leap forward in the modernization of the government, Gutirrez was quoted as saying in local daily Los Tiempos.

In addition, it is expected to reduce waiting times, speed up the process of authorizing payments and lower printing and logistics expenses.

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