An African proverb admonishes us that: “Whenever the rhythm of the drum beats changes, you must change the dance movement accordingly.”
It’s now not privileged information that Info and Communication Know-how has launched all the globe into what’s now generally known as the e-world-meaning digital world. At present Governments the world over are somersaulting to reinvent and re-engineer governance in order to be more practical, environment friendly and clear within the provision of data, items and providers to their residents electronically.
Fortuitously Ghana has already began dancing to the tune of the technological music as a result of authorities has laid the muse for e-government by establishing the federal government of Ghana web site popularly known as Ghana Portal which is being managed by the Info Companies Division of the Ministry of Info in Accra. Authorities has additionally established the Ghana-India Kofi Anan IT Centre of Excellence and above all, Ghana has formulated an Info Communication Know-how framework for accelerated growth, being spearheaded by the Ministry of Communications.
Nonetheless, relating to the practicability, accessibility and usefulness of e-government providers by residents, Ghana nonetheless has some mountains to climb and a few rivers and lagoons to wade via. It’s in opposition to this backdrop that this author deems it related to share the Singapore e-government expertise with fellow Ghanaians. However, even earlier than shedding some mild on e-government methods and implementations in Singapore, it might be mandatory to clarify what e-government is within the first place.
On Saturday July 31 this 12 months, on the Johannesburg Airport in South Africa, this author got here throughout a gaggle of Ghanaians on their method to Zimbabwe to participate in a e book truthful in that nation. Then in a chart with one among them, the place it was revealed that I used to be on my approach from Singapore the place I underwent a brief coaching course in e-government, my interlocutor exclaimed:
‘Eeeee-Authorities!’ “What is that animal, too?” he nearly shouted unconsciously.
As a matter of truth, my good friend confessed that, he was listening to for the primary time the time period e-government. Later after we parted firm and he went to Zimbabwe and I used to be airborne to Ghana, I began debating with my internal self: “If this man, well-educated, dwelling within the capital metropolis of Accra, taking part in a world occasion resembling a e book truthful, has not but heard of the time period e-government till then, then what occurs to nearly all of uneducated and fewer lucky brothers and sisters dwelling in disadvantaged rural communities of the nation?
As a result of we live in a world of Data Administration (KM) and Expertise Sharing, I can not declare to be an professional on this discipline, however the little I learn about e-government should be shared with others for the good thing about all who care to know; for the development of mankind and to the glory of the Divine Intelligence or the First Giver of data itself.
The query is: What’s E-government? The United Nations defines e-Authorities as “Everlasting dedication by authorities to enhance the connection between the personal citizen and the general public sector via enhanced, cost-effective and environment friendly supply of providers, data and information.” It went further to explain that there are five categories of measuring a country’s “e-gov” progress by way of Net Presence. This contains: Rising – Enhanced – Interactive – Transactional and Absolutely Built-in. All UN member states have been known as upon and inspired to embark on this e-government venture and programme.
Accordingly the world physique has a approach of assessing the progress of every nation on this regard. Considerably within the UN Report for this 12 months on e-government globally, Singapore, a small Island Metropolis State of Land- Space of 697.1sq km with a inhabitants of four.185 million souls is sharing the 2nd place with the mighty United States of America with Canada comfortably sitting on high of all.
How did Singapore make it to the highest of e-government league desk of the world? What methods and insurance policies have been put in place; when and the way did that nation obtain such a technological feat over and above the tremendous powers of this planet of financial inequalities?
Singapore set off on its e-government journey way back to about 25 years in the past. In 1981, Singapore embarked upon a computerization programme of the federal government equipment. It first established a Nationwide Pc Board and Nationwide Computerisation Plan. The Plan was to make sure a scientific progress of native IT trade; Growth of IT manpower pool; Civil Service Computerisation Plan and the manufacturing of 850 IT Professionals.
Nationwide IT Plan
After the Computerisation programme, the Singapore authorities embarked upon what was known as the Nationwide IT Plan. The Nationwide IT Plan initiated what was generally known as the Beginnings of Computing Communications Convergence. It additionally constituted what was dubbed Digital Knowledge Interchange (EDI), which was principally geared toward bridging Authorities and trade. This plan came about in 1986 that’s 5 years or so after the Computerisation Programme.
IT 2000 Blueprint for Intelligence Island
This Blueprint technique that additionally began over 5 years after the
Nationwide IT Plan in 1992 was to impact what was known as Flagship Tasks on the Singapore Island. It had the aims to create an digital community linking all libraries in that nation; safe infrastructure for e-commerce; Professional system for checking all constructing plans within the nation and above all to determine Singapore ONE, that’s, to create one community for everybody in Singapore. It was this technique that shot Singapore as much as the place of the world’s first nationwide broadband infrastructure nation within the e-world.
The subsequent step Singapore took, after attaining a nationwide broadband infrastructure, was to launch what was dubbed Infocomm 2001. This venture was launched in 12 months 2000 and geared toward creating Singapore right into a vibrant and dynamic world data communication capital, with a thriving and affluent e-Economic system, and a pervasive and “Infocomm-savvy” e-Society and full telecom liberalisation in that nation.
In 2003, Singapore authorities launched the ultimate onslaughts on its e-government programme by establishing what was merely generally known as Linked Singapore. This technique was to unleash the potential for the entire realisation of all e-government potentialities via the Information comm venture of the nation.
Briefly, the previous steps recognized in Singapore because the 5 (5) Nationwide Strategic ICT Plans give us an summary of the strategy Singapore adopted to change into the 2nd e-Nation within the e-World in the present day behind Canada. The Singapore authorities has a philosophy that: “No matter providers that may be delivered electronically should be delivered electronically” Interval.
One other African proverb reminds us that, “In case your tormentor who’s operating after you doesn’t cease, you, too, should not cease operating.” So long as Ghana stays a creating nation, Ghanaians should not cease combating to develop and progress.
Within the first a part of this text the definition of e-Authorities in keeping with the United Nations was supplied. Singapore authorities used the UN definition of e-Authorities as a information, however simplified it for straightforward understanding by peculiar individual on the street.
In line with Singapore, e-Authorities is using know-how to
improve the entry to and supply of presidency providers to learn residents and companies. It identified that the beneficiaries of e- Authorities embrace the federal government itself, companies and the residents of the nation involved.
How did the Singapore Authorities use know-how to reinforce entry to and supply of presidency data and providers to the folks? E-Authorities Motion Plan II (2003-2006) With the intention to obtain its acknowledged objectives the Singapore authorities formulated an motion plan generally known as e-Authorities Motion Plan II for the 12 months 2003 to 2006.The imaginative and prescient of the Authorities was to be a number one e- Authorities to higher serve the nation within the digital economic system.
The target of this Plan was to make sure “a Networked Authorities
that delivers accessible, built-in, value-added e-services to our clients; and helps convey residents nearer collectively”. A slogan was developed thus: e-Authorities- Delighting Clients, Connecting Residents.
What are among the providers that the Singapore Authorities gives for its clients who’re the residents of the nation? Even earlier than we contact on among the providers supplied on-line, shall we discover out why Singapore authorities got here to the belief that the beneficiaries of e-Authorities embrace Authorities, companies and residents?
It is very important be aware that inside the scope of e-Authorities, there are a number of classes that match into the broad definition of e-Authorities. For instance, e-Authorities constitutes: A Authorities- to-Residents (G2C); B- Authorities-to-Enterprise (G2B); C- Authorities-to-Workers (G2E); and ultimately D-Authorities to- Authorities (G2G).
G2C: Authorities-to-Residents, in keeping with consultants, contains all of the interactions between a authorities and its residents that may happen electronically. The target of G2C is to supply residents sooner, extra responsive, extra handy and simpler means to public providers.
G2B: Within the case of Authorities-to-Enterprise, it refers to e-commerce wherein authorities sells to companies or gives them with providers, in addition to companies promoting services to authorities. Once more the target of G2B is to allow companies to work together, transact and talk with authorities on-line, with better pace and comfort.
G2E: Authorities-to-Workers contains actions and providers between authorities models and their workers. Because the time period implies, the target of G2E is to develop and domesticate IT capabilities amongst authorities workers to ship environment friendly and cost-effective providers.
G2G: Curiously, Authorities-to-Authorities appears to have twin significance. One, G2G is claimed to include actions between authorities and different Ministries, Departments and Companies (MDAs) of the identical authorities.
The opposite that means of G2G is a scenario wherein Governments must take care of their different counterpart governments of various nations. This second G2G within the opinion of consultants is anchored on belief and interdependence, which permits for data sharing amongst governments on regional, sub-regional and worldwide points.
For instance, the management of terrorism; the administration of cross border illnesses like SARS, which occurred in Asia a while in the past and even HIV/AIDS. This G2G additionally has to do with frequent financial challenges in addition to ethnic wars and conflicts issues dealing with West African States for example. For Singapore authorities to realize the enviable e-Authorities standing via efficient on-line providers supply to its residents, sure methods have been once more adopted:
I) E-Authorities Infrastructure
The federal government put in place a Nationwide Info Infrastructure as spine for e-government providers supply. This technique was christened Public Service Infrastructure (PSI) in Singapore.
Authorities itself supplied Web entry factors in handy locations resembling public libraries, procuring malls, authorities workplaces, hospitals, subway stations and golf equipment and related public locations for the residents to make use of freed from cost.
Right here, the Authorities supplied computer systems, servers, networks (broadband and wi-fi), cellular gadgets, sensible playing cards in addition to know-how requirements which can be open and scalable resembling Java, XML, Net providers.
Below this the federal government supplied E-Authorities ID and Password for all its residents. It made it simpler for very citizen to know how one can log on-line and entry Authorities data and providers.
II) E-Authorities Laws &Coverage
Having put in place the mandatory infrastructure for the e-government providers to the residents, the following technique the Singapore authorities adopted was the enactment of related guidelines and laws and insurance policies that govern the implementation of the programme.
A few of the main laws have been meant to safeguard privateness and data safety; knowledge safety, knowledge privateness, pc misuse, authorized recognition of digital transactions, official management of cryptography, safety audits and nicely as requirements and certification of safety practices. Singapore’s laws and code of follow embrace Pc Misuse Act; Digital Transaction Act, which was enacted in 1998, tried to outline the rights and obligations of transaction events, and in addition supplied authorized standing on using digital data and signature. The Authorities additionally supplied knowledge Safety Code.
III) E-Authorities Companies
After putting in ICT infrastructure and laws and coverage the federal government then developed a web site known as E-Citizen Portal. This web site was to allow residents to ask questions and obtain solutions. Particular digital providers deliveries are supplied on this web site.
A few of the providers on this web site embrace fee of taxes and fines; Issuance and renewal of driver’s licenses; Serving to residents discover employment; Nationwide campaigns and consciousness creation on social providers such well being and training; Introduction of Web and IT coaching programs; e-learning and sensible card in colleges. So pc literacy began proper from the first college in Singapore and many others.
Within the poor and rural communities, the federal government supplied free computer systems and Web entry factors and posted officers who know how one can function the gear to help the illiterates to learn from the net providers.
In reality, in Singapore in the present day some providers just like the issuing of Passports and Start Certificates, you must sit within the consolation of your property and fill the mandatory kinds and e-mail them to the suitable authorities. Authorities will reward you for acquiring the providers on line. Curiously in case you go personally to these workplaces for the providers, you’ll pay penalty for going there personally. And after paying the penalty you can be directed to go and use a pc in a nook
there within the workplace nonetheless to use for the paperwork you wished.
Within the case of Companies, E-Tender was launched in that any firm that wished to bid for presidency contracts can solely try this via the Web. Company taxes may solely be filed electronically. Annual Stories and periodic enterprise studies are all offered on-line. As within the case of E-Residents Portal, there may be additionally one-stop Portal for all authorities procurement alternatives with
over eight,000 buying and selling companions. It’s on this Portal that every one company our bodies do enterprise with the federal government in Singapore. This is named built-in e- Companies.
That is the extent of E-Authorities Companies in Singapore. Is it any marvel that they’re the 2nd e-nation after Canada within the e-world? Ghana, too, can do the identical regardless of how lengthy it takes. What’s necessary is for the Ghanaian IT consultants to provide the proper technological recommendation to the federal government of Ghana.