A master plan to apply information technology in finance that has been approved by the Ministry of Finance seeks to push 80 percent of tax-related tasks online by 2015, among other goals.

In approving the plan, the ministry regarded IT as the key factor in boosting modernisation and innovation of financial operations, establishing the foundation for an e-public finance sector, and setting up a unified information management system.

The orientations take into account strategic plans for the finance sector, which meet evolving economic requirements, improve processes, and simplify administrative procedures.

The master plan gives top priority to IT use at all levels.

All ministry agencies and units at the provincial level and upwards will have websites with essential information.

Almost a third of public services and 90 percent of tax declarations will be done online, while 80 percent of all kinds of taxes will also be paid online.

It will ensure 90 percent of customs offices in provinces and cities are equipped with IT.

IT applications will also enable the ministry to keep closer control over State budget spending.

This is because 20 percent of the ministry's bidding packages for public projects will be done online, including bidding plans, bid invitations, and list of bidders and results.

To fulfil this plan, the ministry is making preparations to develop a large, core integrated information system that can serve taxation, customs, budget, treasury, securities, and many other operations.

National data such as budget revenue and expenditure, financial management of public works, and financial information about State assets, public agencies, and taxpayers will be incorporated in the information systems.

Sector insiders said once the IT infrastructure is perfected by 2015, all information about orders issued by department-level managers upwards and all reports by the ministry and its departments will be uploaded on the ministry's websites.

All ministry employees will be authorised to use an e-library system for performing their jobs.

The finance minister can hook into online meetings held by the Prime Minister and heads of finance sector agencies.

Experts said however that the ministry will have to provide intensive training for workers to ensure they could handle the modern IT system./.