UN E-Government Survey in Media

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E-Government Survey in Media

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KAMPALA. Uganda’s online service index has improved from 50% in 2016 to 57% in 2018 which puts the country in high online service index  bracket.  This is according to the United Nations E-Government survey 2018. 

The  Online  Services  Index  is  a  component  of  the  E-Government  Development Index(EGDI)  which  is  a  composite  indicator  measuring  the  use  of  ICTs  by Governments in delivering public services at the national level. It examines how digital  technologies  and  innovations  are  impacting  the  public  sector  and changing people’s everyday lives. 

According to a statement from the  National  Information Technology  Authority  Uganda  (NITA-U) on Wednesday, the survey is the only global report that assesses the e-Government development status  of  all  member  States  of  the  United  Nations.  It  measures  e-Government effectiveness  in  the  delivery  of  public  services  and  identifies  Patterns  in  e-government development and performance.  

The survey shows that Uganda’s E-Government  Development  Index  (EGDI)  also  improved  from 36% in 2016 to 41% in 2018, which is above the African average of 34%.

Hon. Vincent Bagiire, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of ICT & National Guidance, attributes the growth to Government’s deliberate efforts to automate majority of its systems to ensure that citizens can access Government services efficiently. 

“Through Technical support from the National Informational Technology Authority, under  the  Ministry  of  ICT  &  National  Guidance,  a  number  of  Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have taken services online, this has resulted into the automation of processes and development of services which are already improving  efficiency  and  transparency," he said. 

He adds: "As  a  Government,  we  have  realized  a saving  of  4million  working  hours  that  can  be  attributed  to  this  automation.  In addition we have set up an E-Citizens portal which is a one-stop online center for Government  online  services.  To date, 76 MDA informational and  transactional services may be accessed through this portal."

Citizens can access the above services by visiting, http://ecitizen.go.ug/. Access to the portal is free of charge when one is using free WiFi and MyUG that is accessible across 284 locations in Kampala and Entebbe. 

A good example, cites Hon. Bagiire, is the e-visa platform which allows foreigners to  apply  for  visas  of  all  classes,  visa  renewal  and  insurance,  Residence  permits application/renewal  and  issuance,  Work  permits  /Entry  Permits,  Passes  (student pass, dependent passes and special passes) and Certificates of residence. By the end of 2017, more than 212,000 applications and application time reduced from 1 month to 5 working days.

NITA-U says the use of online tools can enhance access to information and public services, as well  as  promote  better  public  policy  decision-making.  E-participation can serve as a catalyst for citizen engagement and in achieving the objectives of the National Development Plan. 

With a grading of High  eParticipation Index, Uganda  was  lauded  for  the improvement in this score as it showcases Uganda’s commitment in implementing further tools for engaging citizens.

There was some improvement in the Telecommunications Index from 11.3 percent in 2016 to 15.7 percent in 2018 and the Human Capital Index from 46.7 percent in 2016  to  49.6  in  2018  which  is  still  a  major  challenge  in  most  African  countries including Uganda. 

The report affirms that Africa has large gaps in infrastructure, including broadband infrastructure and access to broadband services, where it exists, is very expensive.

This is evident in the region’s low Telecommunications Infrastructure Index score of 20.3 percent. 

According  to  James  Ssaka,  the  Executive  Director  of  NITA-U,  the  Ugandan  Government  deliberately invested in the National Backbone Infrastructure (NBI) aiming to close such gaps and to ensure effective service delivery riding off the robust infrastructure.

It aims to connect all major towns within the country onto an optical fiber based network and  to  connect  all  Ministries,  Departments  and  Agencies  (MDAs),  Local Governments (LGs) and Institutions. 

In a bid to improve communication via internet across the remote rural areas of Uganda,  the  Government  through  the  Uganda  Communications  Commission (UCC)  has  launched  a  pilot  remote  broadband  connectivity  project.  In  the project,  UCC  has  joined  forces  with  International  Telecommunications  Satellite Organization (ITSO), Intelsat and Gilat Satellite networks.

According to the survey, the three most commonly used online services in 2018 are  utilities  payment,  submission  of  income  taxes,  and  registration  of  new businesses.

Country: Uganda
Source Date: 7/25/2018

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