- Veröffentlicht: 02. März 2018
Myanmar Computer Federation (MCF) President U Khun Oo spoke exclusively with The Myanmar Times last week on ways and means to effectively implement the current electronic-Government systems.
Q: How would you define an e-Government?
There are several definitions based on different interpretations by various countries. Essentially, an electronic-Government (or e-Government) refers to utilization of Information Technology (IT), Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), and other web-based telecommunication technologies to improve on the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery between governments, and between the government and the private or public sector.
Q: Could you briefly explain the background of an e-Government formation here?
E-Government commenced here back in 2003, and although at that time it was not as widely publicized as now, the then-government strongly supported its own initiative. Without even a suitable infrastructure in hand, notable benefits could be witnessed, thanks to effective reinforcement by the authorities. E-Passport is a good instance that brought us in line with international norms. Then, there’s the e-Procurement, and Certification Authority (CA) which is being used at present at the Customs Department for online declaration of imports and exports. Frankly, because of the then-government’s strong support, the ICT Industry made a speedy progress.
But, sadly, beginning from 2005 to the present, it will be hard to find concrete development of the ICT Industry or the e-Government. This is mainly due to lack of enthusiasm by the authorities, although one remarkable event, during this sad state of affairs, is the emergence of the 2006-10 ICT Master Plan, drawn with South Korean government’s assistance. The plan, including details for the e-Government, did not materialize as the then-government did not recognize it.
During former president U Thein Sein’s period, the aim to develop the e-Government system resulted in state budget funding for the project. Government departments set up websites and an e-Government data center, linking ministries’ networks, was established. But the project failed due to one weakness – there did not exist a good leadership structure to steer the e-Government system. The MCF tried to offer advice to the government, but due to multiple reasons, it did not make any difference.
I am recounting this history to prove that for a successful e-Government in any country, leadership, government’s support and faith in ICT are vital.
One encouraging performance by the current administration is the formation of the e-Government Committee, in line with the anticipation for an efficient leadership structure.
Q: What would be your opinion on this emergence of the e-Government Committee?
As it was recently formed, I cannot say much, but I trust that it will produce a substantial success. The government needs to show its efforts, and our computer associations need to strive more than before as well. As the e-Government Committee, all issues related to e-Government will be determined by the committee, such as deciding that Unicode should be used as Myanmar-language text font. As a leading committee, it can monitor and consolidate e-Government activities by respective ministries, resulting in a bright future for the e-Government.
Q: Will there be any hindrances, and if so what kind, to the successful execution of the e-Government order?
There might be some individual progress, but in general, it wouldn’t add much, as there are so many issues that need to be improvised. For instance, if this e-Government system is to be executed nationwide, all applications should be coded in Myanmar language. Regretfully, not much has been done to systematize the Myanmar text. There’s a strong conviction from the technical and government quarters that Unicode is here to stay, but this belief in itself hasn’t produced much practically. This is a weakness that’s hindering our progress. Also, there are weaknesses in collaboration of one-stop services that links tasks done by more than one ministry.
An evaluation of past events would point out a weakness in the steering leadership role which was not able to consolidate all the government ministries, let alone all the departments under a ministry that are implementing the e-Government system on their own by individual developers. Until now, it is not able to systematically link all individual departments and ministries, due to lack of an administrative leadership role. In the past, there were infrastructure issues, but now most of them are running well, although there are still other obstacles.
Q: If successful, what would be the main benefits an e-Government system would deliver?
In my view, for it to be successful, there’s a direct correlation with ICT development, as this whole project cannot be completed on a whim. As long as the world exists, there would be e-Government tasks to be administered.
One downright reward from an e-Government system is the emergence of a clean, effective and responsive governance as aimed by the administration. This kind of government would benefit its citizens, as a clean administration would certainly produce positive developments.
Besides, lifestyles and economic prospects would be enhanced as businesses between the government and its citizens are smoothly carried out. There would be multi-sided benefits, including less delay in dealing with businesses. Relations among government departments would grow with speedier and more genuine correspondence among them. These are some of the direct benefits from an e-Government system.
Q: What things should be emphasized in implementing an e-Government order?
A good leadership is vital for the success of an e-Government. Bearing this in mind, the current government has formed the e-Government Committee. What we need now is a master plan, like what the previous government did. It is known that authorities are deliberating on the master plan and will hopefully approve it soon. This is something the government should soon undertake.
We also need human resources and ICT development, supplemented with a complete law. We do have Telecommunications Law and Electronic Transition Law that needs to be amended. We still need other laws, and these necessities should be given priority. There need to be reform processes. While transitioning to e-Government services, to make it successful, re-engineering of speedier services should be implemented, in place of current manual paper-based system. These changes should be seriously implemented by the leading and implementing committees.
Q: Can you give some examples of the government’s transparent online services reflecting the e-Government system?
At present, the Ministry of Commerce issues online licenses, and agents at the Customs Department have to go online to process their approved work, limiting any outsiders from trespassing the Customs procedures. We cannot still be using manual system, like in the past. For security purposes, we use digital identification certificates. The Yangon City Development Committee has started some services online. These are excellent, transparent and successful services. I also hear that the Yangon Region government is planning to offer its services online.
Q: Does the public really need an e-Government system?
Of course, it does. Latest reports show that there’s a 90 percent telephone density in our country, with a network coverage of 85pc. 80 out of 100 phone users own smartphones. We need to be able to do all kinds of agreements and deals by phone. e-Government, e-Commerce are indispensable these days. With such a useful mobile or smartphone device in hand, I trust the situation has turned feasible, with the public anticipating e-Government systems.
Q: Any advice to the authorities trying to implement this e-Government order?
Computer associations really appreciate and recognize the formation of the e-Government Committee. The government is on the right track by making this decision. The government and the parliament, with strong conviction, should designate ICT development as indispensable for the nation’s progress, as seen in many other developed and prosperous countries. The ICT Industry will enhance our country’s GDP, and if all government organizations, with a firm belief, start developing the ICT, our nation is bound to become developed and prosperous soon.
In conclusion, I would like to suggest that trust should be imposed on Myanmar experts and entrepreneurs and their services used for long-term purposes, thus relieving long-term expenses. We have computer associations in eight states and regions, and this potential should be put into good use. If staff from these associations work hand in hand with the government, we are bound to be successful in our endeavors.
Autor(en)/Author(s): Aung Kyaw Nyunt
Quelle/Source: Myanmar Times, 23.02.2018