By George Aine
A new survey has revealed that Uganda’s usage of online services has improved by 7% in two years, an indication that the country is on the right path in automating its business processes.
Dubbed the 2018 United Nations E-Government survey, Uganda has improved from 50% in 2016 to 57% in 2018, putting the country in the High Online Service Index bracket.
The survey was based on the usage of payment of utilities, the filing of income tax returns, and registration of new businesses. The survey also indicates that Uganda’s e-Government development index (EGDI) improved from 36% in 2016 to 41% in 2018, which is above the African average of 34%.
The Online Services Index is a component of the E-Government Development Index (EGDI) which measurs the use of ICTs by Governments in delivering public services at the national level. It examines how digital technologies and innovations are impacting the public sector and changing people’s everyday lives.
The Survey is the only global report that assesses the e-Government development status of all member States of the United Nations.
Mr. Vincent Bagiire, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, said the report indicates Government’s commitment towards improving service delivery.
“A number of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have taken services online, this has resulted into the automation of services, improving efficiency and transparency. As a Government, we have realized a saving of 4million working hours that can be attributed to this automation,’’ Mr. Bagiire said.
He cites the e-visa platform which allows foreigners to apply for visas online, renewal and insurance. He said such automation has reduced the time of processing the documents from one month to five working days.
“The concept of leaving no one behind extends to inclusive digital participation. The use of online tools can enhance access to information and public services, as well as promote better public policy decision-making,” he said.
Mr. James Ssaka, the Executive Director of the National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U), said the Government invested in the National Backbone Infrastructure to close such gaps and to ensure effective service delivery. He said the target is to connect all major towns within the country onto the optical fiber based network and to connect all Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Local Governments and Institutions.