In a year marked by war conflicts and tension on the global market, an increase in the number of requests for issuing electronic building permits was recorded, again, in Serbia. A total of 144,139 requests were submitted, or 4% more compared to the previous year, with officials breaking the legal deadlines for resolving cases increasingly year to year, as discussed at the meeting of the Club of Cities and Municipalities with a Favorable Business Environment BFC Club a working body of NALED.
According to NALED data, the most successful cities in issuing all four types of building permits are Sremska Mitrovica, Kruševac and Čačak, while Kraljevo, Sombor, Vršac, Kragujevac, Kikinda, Pančevo and Pirot make up the top 10. When it comes to municipalities with a number of requests above the national average, the most noticeable are Bogatić, Novi Bečej and Vrbas, while Gornji Milanovac, Kovin, Svilajnac, Topola, Ub, Ćuprija and Aleksinac also stand out for their results.
The guest at the BFC Club meeting, Minister of Information and Telecommunications Mihailo Jovanović, emphasized that citizens are increasingly using electronic services, which can be seen from the growth in the number of registered users on the eGovernment Portal.
- In 2022, we had an average of 1,000 new users per week, and last week as many as 25,000 were registered. More than 10,000 citizens opened an account at the Post of Serbia, and a smaller number turned to the Treasury Administration and agricultural expert services. Only about a hundred citizens visited the counter of their local self-government, although in almost all municipalities and cities we have so-called eCounter for assistance in opening an account. This means that local governments need to promote this possibility more - said Minister Jovanović.
The data shows that two-thirds of local governments (63%) are breaking the deadlines in issuing all permits, with the delay being somewhat greater in cities than in municipalities. The biggest breakthrough occurs in the issuance of location conditions, which takes an average of 38 days, although the legal deadline is 28. Permits should be issued in a maximum of five days, but it takes an average 14 (almost three times longer than the legal deadline) while the construction permit takes 10 days (the deadline is five). The most common reason for breaking legal deadlines is the lack of civil servants in local self-governments due to the multi-year ban on employment. Despite this challenge, they managed to resolve even 86% of requests positively.
Electronic construction permits are the first rounded public electronic service established in 2016, and NALED's Local eGovernment Index (LEI) shows that today the level of development of local electronic services is at 40% of the desired level. Cities and municipalities have digitized an average of about 20% of their administrative procedures so far. The vice president of the BFC club and the mayor of Šabac, Aleksandar Pajić, said that local governments are aware that digitization is a necessary prerequisite for development.
- We are trying to make the administration at all levels faster, more efficient, more ready to respond to the demands of citizens and businesses and to offer better public services. Šabac has nine eServices available and digital assistant MIA. In the coming period, we will continue to work on the expansion of our eServices - Pajić explained.
The BFC Club brings together 25 cities and municipalities in Serbia that have successfully passed or are in the process of passing the Certification Program for Municipalities with a Favourable Business Environment in Southeast Europe (BFC SEE). In Serbia, 11 local governments currently have a valid BFC SEE certificate, and in the five countries of the region (Serbia, Croatia, BiH, Montenegro and North Macedonia) a total of 45, while more than 100 cities and municipalities have gone through the certification process.
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