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‘E-government best way to go'

Update: August, 29/2013 - 08:05
Information security equipment on display at a conference on e-government held in HCM City. E-government is expected to improve services for people and enterprises. — VNA/VNS Photo The Anh

HA NOI (VNS)— It was time for Viet Nam to boost offering online public services to better satisfy citizens and corporations, said Mai Anh, chairman of the Ha Noi Information and Communication Technologies Association.

Anh was addressing the 11th Viet Nam E-Government Symposium themed "Driving collaboration, transparency and citizen engagement" in Ha Noi yesterday.

Anh said that to promote e-Government in the country, besides the improvement of technological applications and staff capacity in State agencies, public services should be shifted from conventional channels, face-to-face transactions for example, to online services.

Vice chairman of the National Assembly's Committee for Sciences, Technology and Environment Le Bo Linh said that in 2011, Viet Nam launched its National Programme on IT application in State agencies and the Public Administration Reform Programme, which is expected to build up an information system and improve the quality of public service delivery.

"E-government has been formed in Viet Nam," he said, noting that the development of e-government required comprehensive efforts from State agencies and society in three key fields of technology infrastructure, legal framework and staff capacity.

At present, all 22 ministries and 63 local governments in Viet Nam have official information portals. Ninety-five per cent of ministries and departments, 98 per cent of provincial governments, and 54 per cent of district governments applied document management software and online management systems.

By 2015, the country is targeted to have 10 per cent of public services at level 3 [ online information provision, online procedure filling, submission and acceptance], with half of all tax reports, pilot e-passports in Ha Noi, and 90 per cent of customs procedures to be done online.

E-government is expected to help improve the satisfaction of service for people and enterprises, improve transparency and ensure equality in performance of State and Government, Linh said.

Le Doan Hop, chairman of the Viet Nam Digital Communication Association, said that more investment to leverage technology infrastructure at localities nationwide was needed to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of e-government.

Vice chairman of the HCM City People's Committee Le Manh Ha said that IT application was a decisive factor to ensure transparency – a key goal of administrative reform.

Consistent policies from central to local governments was also needed to develop e-government, he said, noting the situation occurred from 2003, where the city offered online registration for business licences, but the activity was stopped by the Ministry of Planning and Investment's regulation in 2011.

CEO of International Data Group IDG Viet Nam Le Thanh Tam revealed at the conference that in Viet Nam, a corporation has to spend about 823 hours each year complying to tax procedures, over three times higher than the world's average. "The required time was too high, disappointing corporations," he said, adding that e-public services with 24-hour and 7-day access was preferred by a majority of enterprises.

According to a survey conducted by the group in February, with responses from about 2,570 foreign-invested companies, 86 per cent of respondents said they used e-public services more than 10 times per year; 9 per cent used it less than 10 times; and 5 per cent almost never used it.

"Convenient, fast and economical" is the major reason why they use e-service, while 30 per cent of respondents said it was because of incentive programmes. However, 20 per cent of them said it was difficult to search for information and services.

Government online services fail because of problems with internet connections, font errors, documents and systems, lack of online announcements, and feedback and support, the survey said.

"There aren't many training courses or policy encouraging firms joining the use of e-service," Thanh said, urging improvements in technology infrastructure and the encouragement and attitudes of State employees, to better implement e-government in Viet Nam.

The conference was organised by IDG Viet Nam, and the CEO& CIO Club, upon the approval of the National Steering Committee on Information and Communication. — VNS

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