Towards paperless administration

Belgrade, February 1, 2018 – Beginning of the project “Towards Paperless Administration” has become official today with the meeting of all the participants in the Palace of Serbia. In was assessed in the meeting that the Law on Electronic Document, Electronic Identification and Trust Services in Electronic Transactions, adopted in October last year, is an excellent framework for development of efficient communication between the government, citizens and economy. It was announced then that the drafts of bylaws for this regulation would be prepared by the end of April.

“Implementation of this Law will ensure a faster and more efficient electronic communication of public administration with the citizens and the economy, which will encourage a reduction of costs and time saving. We expect that, with the legal solutions which refer to trust services, in particular the services of electronic signature in the cloud, it will bring to a mass use of electronic signature which use will be significantly facilitated. On the other hand, services of electronic storage will largely reduce the costs of storage of paper documentation”, says Assistant Minister for Electronic Communications and Postal Services in the Ministry of Trade, Tourism, and Telecommunications, Irini Reljin.

Држава непотребно чува више од 90% документације  трајно и на папиру

Around 80% of the information from the government institution and the economies around the world are still stored in the paper form, while in Serbia that is more than 90%. The obligation to archive the paper documents in our country is regulated for the period from two to 70 years or permanently, which imposes huge costs. Only in the Business Register Agency, management and storage of paper documents requires one million euros annually while the length of the shelves of those institutions has exceeded 30 kilometres. – Storage of documents in the paper form slows down the decision-making process which further brings to the situation where the economy and the citizens cannot enjoy their rights timely and efficiently. This is why the government of the United Kingdom, using the Good Administration Fund, supported the project “Towards Paperless Administration” to assist government authorities and the economy of Serbia to redirect themselves towards electronic transactions – says Deputy Ambassador of Great Britain Tracy Gallagher about the beginning of the project implementation.

The project is implemented by NALED, European Policy Centre, and company Pricewaterhouse COoopers, and they will be in charge of supporting the Ministry of Trade, Tourism, and Telecommunications and the Ministry of Culture and Information, in creating eight bylaws which will closely regulate the e-document archive system. One of the significant tasks is also to amend the Regulation on categories of registered material with deadlines for storage, which is already 25 years old, and defines that even 1.117 to 1.202 (92.9%) of document types in public authorities are permanently stored, which should be drastically reduced.

The key beneficiaries of the project and the participants in the realisation will be the Ministry of Trade, Tourism, and Telecommunication and the Ministry of Culture and Information which capacity covers the regulation of this field, but the effects will be visible for all the institutions, citizens and the economy, since the regulation of e-archive is a precondition of a mass development of e-services and advancement of the business environment.

-Economy costs due to the obligation of storing business documentation in paper form are even higher than in case of government authorities. A bank of medium size annually produces 11 million papers, and a small chain if stores use up to 150.000 euros for toners, paper, printing and lease of warehouses and we are sure e-business will make savings in the amount of hundreds of millions of euros. More significantly, it will make a change in the operation of the institutions since it will ensure an easier search and use of data based on which they will be able to plan their public policies better – says Mr Dragan Ilić, Coordinator of e-Governance Association of NALED.

Creation of bylaws will be followed by the analysis of capacities of the public administration institutions and Archives of Serbia (where 30% of documents end up before the expiry of the mandatory time period for storage in the authorities) to start using the e-documents, creation of recommendations for advancing their IT systems and the training of the servants. Also, the translation model of paper documents in the electronic forum at the notaries who will guarantee that in the new form they will have the equal value and validity, will be tested.