To tens of thousands of suppliers across the country who have been waiting for payment for months, the much-hyped launch of SmartBots last Wednesday would have come across as a cruel joke without a punchline.
As part of its e-government programme, the public service uses an electronic payment system called Government Integrated Financial Management Information System – which is oddly abbreviated as “GABS” from an old name. Going as far back as August, this system has been badly malfunctioning, causing massive disruption to operations of companies that do business with the government. In a country in which the government is the largest consumer of services and products, a lot of companies are already suffering crisis-level disruption to their operations.
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