Matic: Proposals for the development of e-Government will be applied

Proposals for improving e-government obtained during local presentations throughout Serbia will be applied in the legal provisions by the Ministry of Foreign and Domestic Trade and Telecommunications intends to launch, said State Secretary of the Ministry of Tatjana Matic.

Education Centre, with the support of the Ministry have organized 25 presentations “How to introduce e-Government in local government?” in the centres of administrative districts, which have came to the common suggestions for improving e-Government.

Proposals will be certainly applied to legal provisions that the responsible Ministry plans to launch in late fall. The reform of e-Government in municipalities is part of the process of public administration reform, and includes changes of the behaviour of government officials at all levels, told Matic to reporters.

At the press conference she said that there is always resistance in people’s minds when it comes to changes, if they were for the better, and that the use of e-Portal must be obligation, thru the specific regulation because otherwise cannot be enforced, at least in the short term.

The Ministry will propose the establishment of a special working body in terms of e-Government, as well as the introduction of incentives, because beside the obligations there must be some benefits. We may not be able as the Netherlands to completely take off the taxes when electronic payments are on, because the holes in the state budget, but we will certainly introduce exemptions, Matic said.

She said that the Ministry is working to improve existing services, such as electronic public hearings and electronic payment, and plan the develop of specific platform that will allow e-Payment of administrative fees, as well as an electronic service for issuing building permits, which is in the process of the Geodetic Institute.

I expect that by the end of autumn start drafting legislation on archives and archival service of electronic documents. Improving e-Government is a major task of resource ministries and the key is to take hold in practice, because the path to the modern state leads through e-Government, said Matic.

A representative of an educational centre, Ivan Grujic said that the desire of more than 1,000 participants in the presentations was to inform the Government of Serbia with the proposals and suggestions of the local government, which, in their opinion, have contributed to improve the process of e-Government.

From six proposals that we have gathered, one of the most important is the legally defined e-Government portal in the legal framework and to provide that the rights and obligations are bearded by public institutions as users of the portal. Even 90 percent of attendees were asked to bring their legal obligation of using e-Government portal says Grujic.

He said that the process of e-Government will be completed only when it enters an electronic archive, which will bring a cessation of storing documents in paper form, which will reduce the cost.

A good example is the Business Registers Agency that makes the building for storage of documents in paper form, which is a big cost, says Grujic.

Proposals will still be faced with the Serbian government were to allow local governments free access to new and existing technical solutions used at the national level, and to employees of local governments and the central government inspectors undergo training.

Presentation “How to introduce e-Government in local government” helped the Foundation Open Society Institute, USAID and the National Democratic Institute (NDI).

Improving the access of citizens to public authorities is a key element in improving public confidence in the government and to increase transparency in government. The benefits are that to get through e-Government enables easy and fast access to information and direct contact between citizens and institutions, increasing their accountability to citizens, says the Director of the USAID Mission in Serbia, Susan Fritz.

E-Government in Serbia by development is located at 51st place in the world, containing more than 500 services that are offered by 30 government bodies, and has more than 900,000 service users.

The most popular services that people use to make an appointment for the issuance of identity cards, passports, birth certificates and death certificates, and by the end of May of this year, 100,000 people have registered their vehicles through e-Government, said at the conference.