Modern administration with information technology application

Column of Ivo Ivanovski MA

 

Skopje, 12th September 2012

Having in mind the guidelines followed by modern countries and new technology application in creating transparent, efficient and service oriented governments, the Government leaded by the VMRO-DPMNE decided from the very beginning in 2006 to invest in the information society development, like no other government before. At that time, there was talk around the world about changes in services offered by Estonia, Malta and Austria and how they can be made accessible via the Internet, i.e. e-services. Unfortunately, Macedonia at that time had only 12% computer penetration and 10% internet in households, two mobile operators and one fixed operator with very high prices, hardly accessible to citizens.

 

Coming to power, the VMRO-DPMNE has instantly made liberalization on the telecommunication market, assigning license to the VIP operator for mobile telephony with a clause to cut service prices in half for its consumers. After that, 3G licenses were assigned to the T-Home and One, and soon we expect a 3G offer from the VIP operator, thus enabling citizens of the Republic of Macedonia to have a bigger choice of operators, services and packages. Besides these three mobile operators, there is a virtual mobile operator and 36 subjects providing publicly accessible fixed telephony services for national and international communication. These measures have contributed for a big progress of the Republic of Macedonia in the telecommunication sector. The report of the Electronic Communication Agency (ECA) about the first quarter 2012 results provided the fact that there were 107% active consumers in mobile telephone. The total number of consumers with access to the broadband internet via mobile networks was 383.610 active users. Data provided from the State Institute of Statistics have shown that 93% businesses with more than ten employees use computers and 88% of them use the Internet. Over 62% households possess computers and 55% use the Internet. These achievement have brought Macedonia on the list of commonly mentioned countries with progress in the ICT sector.

 

The report of the 2012 World Summit on Information Society provides that Macedonia is among the Top 5 countries with the fastest ICT development. Only a few weeks ago, at the World Conference on Education organized by Intel in California, Macedonia was pointed out as an example for other countries with the project A Computer for Each Student. As a result to all these achievements, the Commission for broadband internet and digital development, the most prestigious association in the world headed by the richest man of today Mr. Carlos Slim, decided to hold its fifth conference in Ohrid, Macedonia, on 1st April this year. At this conference, Macedonia was pointed out again as an example for the other countries in the world concerning development of broadband internet in rural environments through the project 680 Wi-Fi booths.

 

Speaking about the progress in information society and electronic services implemented by the Government leaded by the VMRO-DPMNE over the last period, I would like to mention only the most important ones. One of the first systems implemented was the system for electronic public procurements, through which 100% of public procurements in state institution have been conducted, saving time, financial resources in using negative electronic bids and increasing the procedure transparency. Starting from this year, citizens can make a tax return procedure electronically from their homes via the e-Tax system, thus avoiding waiting in lines in front of the counters in the PRO. The Real Estate Cadastre Agency has become widely recognized for its electronic services offered to the citizens and institutions.

 

Many towns in the country have already been digitalized and their services are electronically efficient and accessible to citizens. Also, a number of other institutions such as the Custom Office and the Central Register have made their services accessible and been recognized as successful in the World Bank’s business report. One of the Government’s most significant projects for the information society development, implemented by the Ministry of Information Society and Administration, is the Interoperability system or in lay terms data exchange among a great number of different IT systems in stat institutions. In the first stage of this project were connected the Central Register, Real Estate Cadastre Agency, PRO and Customs Office, and in the next four years other major institutions offering services to the citizens will be included. Through this system, institutions can make instant data exchange without sending citizens from one counter to another. For example, last year 4.500 citizens addressed the Central Register for property registration as their business investment, without providing any documents from the Cadastre Agency. It is a huge time saving for citizens.

 

By the time when all institutions are connected, the Government of the Republic of Macedonia has proposed amendment of the Law on General Administrative Procedure in respect of ex officio document exchange among institutions, meaning that all institutions in the country are obliged to exchange documents of interest to the citizens without sending them to counters. If institutions do not respect this law, a citizen can submit a complaint to the State Administrative Inspectorate. The Inspectorate will make an insight in the citizen’s act and if the administration has been silent, it will conduct a procedure against the competent administrative body, its head and civil servant. At the end, I would like to mention that starting from 1st June 2013 the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia will have the opportunity to follow television events through a digital signal that will replace the existing analogue signal. Re-appropriation of frequencies used in that volume will enable mobile operators also to offer a 4G service, which means much faster Internet via mobile devices. These technologies will provide preconditions for the administration to offer new electronic services accessible to the citizens via mobile devices, so-called m-Services.