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[April 19, 2014]
Kyrgyzstan to introduce e-government strategy [Times of Central Asia]
(Times of Central Asia Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) BISHKEK (TCA) — A roundtable last week discussed the final draft of the Strategy for e-Government introduction in the Kyrgyz Republic for 2014-2017 and the Action Plan for its implementation.
The draft strategy has been developed by the State e-Government Center in collaboration with the UNDP to radically improve the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) by the state executive bodies and local authorities to improve their efficiency, transparency and expand the range of electronic services in accordance with the National Sustainable Development Strategy of Kyrgyzstan for 2013-2017.The most important task of the e-Government Strategy is to eliminate corruption factors in the governance system and create conditions for the timely delivering of quality services to the citizens. The strategy includes a number of e-Government principles such as focusing on the interests of citizens and the business community, reducing the administrative burden on citizens and the business community in their relations with the state at all levels, and providing the most useful e-services to citizens and business community. Creation of new interactive mechanisms of civil control will help involve population in decision-making procedures.To implement the strategy, the State e-Government Center has been established. The Center will coordinate the activities of executive authorities and local administrations in introduction of e-Government and electronic control in the country.The use of the ICT will help eliminate corruption in the governance system, said the Economy Minister Temir Sariev. The e-government is a good instrument for better governance and for improving communication between government, business and citizens. The Economy Ministry, one of the executive authorities in the development and implementation of public policies, believes that the transition to e-Government will improve public services to citizens and businesses due to reduction of personal interaction between the state and citizens. E-government can make government institutions more transparent, help citizens obtain access to public information and broaden their participation in the democratic processes, said Sariev. Within five years, the Government aims to bring the country to the top 30 list of countries attractive for doing business, the minister said. Also, Kyrgyzstan hopes to join the 50 top countries rated the perception of corruption. The Government has to restore the population's confidence in all government institutions and provide quality services to the population, concluded Sariev.This is not the first attempt to introduce e-Government in Kyrgyzstan. In 2002, the first e-Government strategy was approved but the analysis showed that only 30 percent of the stated goals have been achieved. To improve the situation, it is necessary to develop a new approach to this idea and provide access to modern ICT services.The new e-Government strategy provides electronic controls in various areas - technological, intellectual, institutional, organizational, and managerial, said Kadanday Baktygulov, Deputy Head of the Government Office. Due to the clear and transparent mechanism, the strategy will be able to achieve its political development goals, he added. The project is open to public debate.However, there are contradictory opinions on the role of the ICT sector in governance and democratization of the society. Some experts believe that ICT possibilities can be fully realized only in the future, because not all Kyrgyz population has access to the Internet, especially in rural areas. E-government may be effective mainly in industrialized countries.Kyrgyzstan has made its ?rst steps towards e-Government. Currently, ministries websites contain only specific department information while these websites should be interactive in the advanced e-Government system. There are special government pages where people can ask their questions and have answers to the most frequently asked questions. Some sites enable people to send email to the ministries. At the higher e-Government stages, departments and ministries should be brought together in a uni?ed government portal to offer different services to the population. The sites give people an opportunity to take part in online discussions, and comment on policy and draft laws. So, e-government may promote democracy in the country.But at the same time the official websites demand registration of their users and thus keep the public under control. Opponents doubt that e-government can be fully transparent because it is maintained by the ministries themselves. So, website administrators may remove undesirable information from the site. Experts say that e-Government may be successful only if citizens are highly educated and mature and have good knowledge in the economy, a good command of political and social situation in the country, and are not subject to external influence.
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