Even though three quarters of citizens are familiar with the possibilities of e-government, only 14% complete administrative tasks online, according to a NALED survey conducted within the project of establishing a local e-government index (LEI), supported by the European Union. The business sector is showing much greater interest - as many as 45% of businesses point out that they prefer to perform their tasks online.
Citizens are most satisfied with the quality of electronic services related to COVID-19 (vaccination scheduling or PCR testing, digital green certificate), electronic payment of fees and charges for services by the Ministry of Interior and the eSchoolRecord. On the other hand, the businesses give credit to the Central Registry of Compulsory Social Insurance, eTaxes, the Single Electronic Mailbox and services by Business Registers Agency.
- The survey we performed among citizens, businesses and local governments indicated unbalanced development of digitalization at the local level. Although the majority thinks that the state invests enough resources in electronic services, it is noticeable that citizens in rural areas find it harder to give up going to the counter. The problem is insufficient information literacy of citizens and public servants, especially among the elderly population. Almost 40% of citizens have not, and do not intend to use services on the eGovernment portal and we must change that attitude, because it is clear that electronic services save a lot of money and time for both citizens and state administration - says Zeljko Tomic, President of eGovernment Alliance in NALED and CEO of OSA Computer Engineering.
NALED sees the solution to these problems in improving the capacity of local administrations to provide electronic services and popularizing eGovernment among citizens. So far, NALED has conducted a large number of trainings for local officials related to issuing electronic building permits, improving information security, using eDelivery, opening accounts for citizens on the eGovernment portal, and intensive trainings are underway to use the new eInvoice system.
To analyze more clearly where additional support is needed, NALED intends to establish a Local e-Government Index (LEI) for local governments. The index will make it possible to measure in an objective way how successful cities and municipalities are in the development of electronic services.
- Thanks to the LEI index, we will be able to see more realistically the challenges that local governments face in the process of digitalization. In addition to the index, an interactive map will be available on a separate portal, which will show real time level of e-government development for each municipality and city individually. This way, we will have insight into the list of local governments with the lowest index values , where further work is needed on raising awareness and improving available capacities. We also believe that such an index can encourage positive competition among them to work even more and better, in order to reach the top - adds Tomić.
The proposed solution is also positively assessed by the representatives of local administrations, especially those who come from less developed places. Apart from the mentioned challenges, the majority of local government representatives are satisfied with the pace at which digitalization is taking place.
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