Stronger development of e-government

Significant progress has been made this year in information technology (IT) for public administration and developing e-government in Vietnam.

Vietnam has recently made great strides in applying IT for public administrative activities. To date, 96.6 percent of ministries and sectors have established their own websites, all 63 provinces and cities have e-portals, and 83.6 percent of information and guidance related to government and central agency policies is posted on the internet.

However, the use of IT in government management should be promoted in the future to better serve the public and develop a proper, more efficient administration.

According to a United Nations survey on e-government, Vietnam has progressed from number 90 in 2010 to number 83 in 2012, and now stands at number four in the ASEAN region after Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei. Vietnam is ranked higher than the world average in most comparison indexes, most notably in the e-government, infrastructure and human capital indexes.

Nguyen Thanh Phuc, head of the IT Department of the Ministry of Information and Communication, says the increased use of effective IT applications has contributed to improving the efficiency of State agencies, as well as public and business services.

Ministries, agencies and provincial and municipal People’s Committees are now providing full, up-to-date information on their websites and e-portals, and State agencies are offering an increasing variety of online public services, he says.

Regarding these online public services, Le Thanh Tam, General Director of the International Data Group IDG Vietnam, says that despite access to e-forms from State agencies, people still have to go to the offices to submit the forms. Only five percent of people are currently able to send and receive e-documents.

Therefore, it is imperative for the development of a cost and time saving paperless public administration to step up communication and encourage the general population to use two-way online services.

Tam emphasizes that helping people gain easier access to the internet will enable them to become familiar with using two-way online services.

Head of Administrative Reforms Department under the Ministry of the Interior Dinh Duy Hoa says the bottom line is to promote IT for developing an e-government to streamline administrative procedures for institutions, human resources and improving the quality of public services.

Hoa says if Vietnam pays little or no attention to developing human resources, there will be no substantial institutional and administrative reforms. Closer coordination between relevant agencies that direct e-government at the central level is essential to ensure its success.

Developing e-government should go hand in hand with improving IT infrastructure to boost socio-economic development.

However, experts warn that e-government is not just a matter of increasing investment in IT infrastructure, setting up greater numbers of mailboxes for provincial and municipal leaders, and building more e-portals. The crux of the matter is ensuring the efficiency of investment and IT applications, which is evidenced by people’s satisfaction with the public services offered.

The Vietnamese Government has set targets for developing e-government mechanisms in the upcoming years with a focus on improving technical facilities for IT applications in State agencies and building a national information network to serve businesses and the public more transparently.