Around the world, governments are seeking to improve service delivery because ICT and the internet to be particular has opened new opportunities for government institutions and agencies to effectively deliver.
E-Government or Digital Government as some would prefer to say is a tool used in achieving this improvement. Digital Government simply refers to the use of technology to provide public services to citizens in a country.
It provides new opportunities for more direct and convenient citizens access to government constitutionally bounded services.
The United Nations defines e-government as the employment of the Internet and the world-wide-web for delivering government information and services to the citizens. (United Nations, 2006)
Delivery models of e-government services include:
- Government-to-Citizen G2C
- Government -to-Business G2B
- Government -to- Government G2B
- Government -to-Employees G2B
It is said that to achieve more, one has to always look ahead by also take some retrospective of the past and learn from our success and mistakes moving forward.
Today, as the Black Star of Africa (Ghana) celebrates 63 years after independence, let’s do a recap of 5 government Interventions that have taken full advantage of the internet and technology as a whole.
Online Passport Acquisition
The travel document that every government provides to its citizens should have an easy process in obtaining one but before 2017, the process was very hectic. The government introduced the Online Passport Application System which has now completely replaced the manual process. This means that services regarding the passport (new application, renewal, and replacement) will all be done online. The online platform application is then followed by visiting a preferred Passport Application Center (PAC) for a physical interview and biodata capturing for the passport to be picked up or delivered to you within a short period.
This indeed has lessened the burden the manual process causes. You can read a detailed guide on how to apply for a passport online here
DVLA Online Registration
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority of Ghana, the sole institute in charge of licensing and evaluation of drivers and cars. The introduction of the online portal seeks to better the services provided by the institution especially Plate number acquisition and Driver’s Licence and to cut off various the huge bottlenecked process attached to the manual application.
Not long ago, the vice president of Ghana, H.E Dr. Bawumia, launched a mobile application to aid citizens to pay for their electricity bills (utility) right from the comfort of their homes or offices. This though may look very insignificant, will cut off the wasted time individual and companies spend in going to pay their bill at ECG offices or vendor points. Read more about this on https://www.microtek.digital/2020-02-24/government-launches-ecg-mobile-application/
The Tax Identification Number (TIN) as instituted by the government is a unique ID number issued to the taxpayers (current and prospective) for official transactions in the country. The TIN after tracking tax payment is also required to do many other things.
- Opening a bank account
- Clearing goods at the ports
- Permit Acquisition
- Land title registration
- Register for a Ghana Card
- Receive payments from the Controller and Accountant General etc.
With the important the TIN, it was very helpful for the process of the application be moved online https://egovonline.gegov.gov.gh/EghanaWeb/jsf/extuser/TempCredentialTinRegStage1.xhtml
The detailed process can be found on this link https://mfidie.com/register-tin-number-ghana/
Just like the TIN, Ghana’s official digital property addressing system is required in most government and private registration forms for some kind of service to be provided. An address can tell which region, district and area one resides in as it is integrated with Google Maps to allow navigation and location search. Anyone can generate his/her digital address from their phones very easily by just downloading the GhanaPost GPS app from the two most popular application markets.
Aside from the many advantages the digital government offers its citizens, there are a few disadvantages and it would be devastating if countries do not address them.
The main disadvantage would be the “digital divide” that this would create. The digital divide means that society would have another division. This time round between those who can access IT devices and the Internet and those who cannot. This problem if not address well, al these initiatives, will lead to a negative impact on the social ad economic aspect of the country. Another disadvantage would be more vulnerable to cyber-attacks if the right measure is not put in place.
Notwithstanding the demerits, it will ensure 100% digital government will ensure transparency, the flow of information, efficient and cost-effective service provision, accountability and sustainable development and growth.