Cabinet on Thursday took a giant step into the digital era, deciding unanimously to introduce an electronic app for its meetings.
This marks the end of paper work and the use of tablets and laptops through which ministers can access documentation from wherever they may be, round the clock.
The decision comes within the framework of President Anastasiades' pre-election pledge to modernise the state, promote the use of modern technology and introduce e-government, an official announcement said.
The groundwork for implementation for the decision was made by cabinet's secretariat with the IT Services Department, after first taking into consideration the opinions of the National Security Agency.
Ministers will use the e-cooperation application which allows the electronic distribution of nearly all the material required for cabinet meetings and which ministers can access round the clock.
Ministers will be able to post their own proposals, notes and reports to which access will be given only to authorised users (ministers, their aides and officials from the Presidential Palace and the secretariat) using personal security codes.
Some of the benefits and saving expected to result from the new system are:
1. Annual savings of two million pages of paper.
2. Savings in ink and maintenance costs of photocopy machines. Digital use means costs will be reduced by 95%-97%, since only classified documents which account for 3%-5% of the total will be printed.
3. Saving in personnel now charged with delivering the documents whose services will be used elsewhere.
4. Saving space needed to store documents.
5. Saving time since work can be carried out from home or elsewhere.
6. Saving on postage since management of documents, planning, exchange of information and announcements will be carried out through the system.
7. Ease in moving electronic archives and more immediate exchange of documents.
8. Cabinet members will be able to use laptops, ipads etc round the clock.
The new system will not entail any cost, since the licences are already available and the IT Services Department in a position to support it.
The app will come into full use soon, and not later than March 20 but pending completion of a smooth transition, there will be parallel use of both systems for up to two months.