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Cyprus

Government bills submitted to House going electronic

Bills slated for discussion at the House from now on will be submitted electronically in a bid to reduce printing paper as last year alone for the distribution of 300 bills more than 1.5 million paper sheets were used.

The move followed the agreement of House speaker Demetris Syllouris and Undersecretary to the President Constantinos Petrides who discussed the electronic interconnection between government ministries and the parliament so that all bills are submitted to the legislative body electronically. The goal is to eliminate paper use in parliament within the next five years.

Syllouris said that the goal is to reduce paper use in half the first year, to 25 per cent the second year until (paper use) is eliminated”.

Petrides said one of the problems faced in Cyprus is that there is no proper use of systems and software already in place.

Each year, Petrides said, around 300 bills are being submitted to parliament. In 2015 alone, the government sent to the House between 1.5m to 1.8m sheets of paper, he said.

“The aim is for this to be reduced to the minimum,” Petrides said.

He added that they also agreed to upgrade the existing electronic system of the parliament used for filing files and correspondence.

Last year the cabinet had announced that it was increasing the role of electronic government for coordinating tasks and monitoring the progress of governmental projects. The decision is part of an earlier decision to scrap written procedures and upgrade electronic applications.

The first-ever e-government cabinet meeting in Cyprus took place in April 2014 when each minister was given a laptop with a special interface providing electronic access to cabinet affairs for easy transfer of digital documents.

Back then it was predicted that the move to the ‘paperless cabinet’ would save some two million sheets of paper annually and would also cut the cost of printing by 95 per cent as only classified documents will be produced in hardcopy.

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