The first phase of the government’s new online portal is expected to be ready in June, deputy minister of digital policy Nikodemos Damianou said on Wednesday.

Speaking after a cabinet meeting, he said the hotly anticipated “digital citizen” mobile application is expected to be ready in September.

In addition, a fully digitised identity card and an artificial intelligence-based “digital assistant” will also be integrated into the new platforms, he said.

The digitised identity card “will not be mandatory” and “will not replace” the existing identity card, Damianou was keen to stress, but will “constitute a citizen’s identity in the electronic world.”

“Two channels which we will use are the application, on which people will be able to access official state documents on their mobile devices in digital form, and the new central government portal,” he said.

The portal is currently in the “planning phase”, he added, and will include all the central services offered by ministries and deputy ministries by June, with other government services from other departments to be added gradually thereafter.

The upgrades will be “substantial”, he said, and will bring the government’s online interface into line with the standards of countries such as the United Kingdom and Greece.

He added that the government has been in contact with its Greek counterparts, as well as with Estonia – which “is considered a pioneer in the field”, he explained.

Before the cabinet meeting, President Nikos Christodoulides had said he wanted his cabinet to “do more” to bring to fruition the government’s “digital citizen” application.

Christodoulides had announced the planned application during his “State of the Republic” speech in January, and said it would cover “the entire range of digital services a citizen can expect from the state”.

“The digital transition is a priority, to fight bureaucracy and to strengthen the competitiveness of our country. It is a platform which offers citizens state services in an evolutionary way,” he said.

“All available services will be concentrated” on the platform, and people “will be able to visit the government websites, which are being redesigned on the basis of a common standard”, he said.

“We are one government, and all ministries must have the same website, and be able to offer the opportunity to people to do what they need to do electronically.”

With this in mind, he said he hopes the government will be able to present the application to the public and for it to enter service in the second half of the year.

“Everyone [in cabinet] will have to do their own work so that what we promised, what I publicly announced, will come to fruition.”