By Charles Achoda
For quite a number of years now, citizens across the world complain of poor service delivery by their respective governments. In a bid to address the challenge and enhance service delivery, government of Uganda adopted the use of Electronic-Government (e-Government) systems for service delivery in various public Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). Simply put, E-government is the use of technological communication devices, such as mobile phones and computers to provide services to citizens through the internet.
The internet is a tool for all; like clean water, internet is a necessity which is the reason National Information Technology Authority (NITA) has ensured that a great part of Uganda today is connected to the internet backbone. This in itself brings government services closer to people as they can access them online.
Adopting electronic service delivery systems has helped over 1000 MDAs, Local Governments have been connected and about 71% of MDAs are now using automated systems to deliver public services. According to NITA, this has seen government saving over 4 Million working hours in 2017/18 by providing automated services annually. It is important to note that, all government offices, schools, hospitals and district headquarters are now connected to the internet.
There are various places where E-services can be offered. E-immigration is used by governments to issue passports and VISAs. In Uganda, ministry of Internal Affairs is responsible for this. Online declaration is a government mandatory service in which public officers are required to declare their wealth status to the Inspectorate of Government.
The beauty with electronic service delivery of government services is that it has reduced corruption and bribery within government institutions, reduced distances moved, saves time, saves money and it’s usually 24/7 service as compared to paper work which slows down service delivery.
Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) is one of those government entities that I strongly commend for going electronic. These days, one can easily get a Tax Identification Number (TIN) from the URA web portal. The process to file tax returns too can entirely be done electronically.
In FY2012/13, Cabinet approved the Strategy for Rationalization of Information Technology Service across Government entities. The purpose of the strategy is to eliminate duplication and wastage of resources. NITA-U was then created with the mandate to coordinate, promote and monitor Information and Technology developments in Uganda within the context of National Social and Economic Development under the ministry of ICT and National Guidance under sections 4, 5 & 6 of the NITA-U act 2009. NITA has now increased awareness and uptake of existing e-Services.
Starting today 20th June 2019 to tomorrow 21st June 2019, NITA has organized an awareness and advocacy campaign at Garden City where E-government achievements will be disseminated and thereafter, government agencies will discuss and share experiences about e Government services. This expo will be culminated with the e-government awards to be held at the Commonwealth Resort Hotel Munyonyo on Thursday 27th June 2019 where various government MDAs will be recognized for their effort to ensure citizens can easily access government services electronically hence easing service delivery.
These awards will go a long way to digitize Uganda by encouraging government MDAs that have not yet gone electronic to do so urgently or Uganda gets left behind in the 4th Industrial Revolution. I therefore call upon all Ugandans to embrace the E-Government Awards by NITA so as to cope up with the new technological advancements as the world is now called a global village. Ugandans can directly participate in voting for their best MDA in the category of People’s Choice via awards.nita.go.ug, the rest of the categories are being audited and will be selected through a well set criteria of NITA to be audited by Ernst and Young.
The writer is a Communications Assistant at Government Citizen Interaction Centre (GCIC), Ministry of ICT and National Guidance.