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  ICT applications

E-government to speed up processes by 2010

An online, web-based Govt administration will mean less paperwork in Viet Nam

By 2010, the government may be handling many of its administrative services online, with a website for every state agency. The plan for the building of an "e-government" in Viet Nam, being devised by the Ministry of Post and Telematics (MPT), will use the internet as a platform to provide information to the public about all state agencies and

to streamline currently cumbersome administrative procedures.

Under the plan, to be submitted to the Prime Minister in December for approval, all government agencies are expected to have a website providing information and administrative services to the public through the Internet by 2010.

The e-government calls for a national computerised administration system to help local residents and businesses that have been annoyed with time-consuming administrative procedures.

MPT deputy minister Mai Liem Truc said that one fourth of the country’s urban residents are expected to own digital IDs while 40 per cent of domestic enterprises can make their business registration or corporate reports on the computer network.

Truc, announcing the plan at a conference last week, also acknowledged that the country has a long way to go to realise its digital goals. In Viet Nam, Truc said, limitations in computer literacy, low per capita income and insufficient human resources in information technology (IT) remain the big hurdle for the e-government development.

Viet Nam is still ranked 60th in the list of 64 e-readiness countries, according to a report published by the Economist in April.

Specialists in information technology said there is much to do to realise the scheme, given state agencies’ limited computerisation and the low computer literacy among the population.

Overhauling the cumbersome administration apparatus while promoting computerisation in all socio-economic sectors and civil transactions must be a precondition for building the country’s e-government, the specialists said.

The current number of Internet users and subscribers is still relatively small. Viet Nam had 1.54 million Internet subscribers and 5.49 million users by October, according to the Viet Nam Network Information Centre.

The centre reports that 6.74 per cent of the country’s population regularly use the Internet and the number of domain names registered in Vietnamese is 8,217.

Viet Nam’s Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) recorded a 29 per cent growth rate in 2003, ranking second after China with a turnover of US$515 million, but IT applications in the nation’s economy remains meagre.

Fifty per cent of ministries and industries and 10 per cent of domestic businesses have launched their own web sites but information is not updated.

Computerised management is available in 50 per cent of domestic enterprises but only 30 per cent of businesses have Internet access and even these web sites are lacking transparent corporate information.

The Ministry of Post and Telematics reported that 52 out of 64 provinces and cities nation-wide have their own web sites, but few of them have two-way interactive communication except those of HCM City, Dong Nai, Da Nang, Ha Noi and Bac Ninh. More than 300 of the 6,776 post offices in communes across the country have gone online.

"E-government is an inevitable trend to help promote democracy in any society," says Director of Post and Telecommunication Development Strategy Institute, Tran Minh Tien.

"It would prove efficient only if it targets the public’s needs in the handling of civil procedures," he said.

"Our proposed e-government should be built soon and must fully meet these demands since the time-consuming administrative procedures have annoyed the public," says director Tran Minh Tien, whose institute is finalising the e-government development strategy.

To realise the project, Tien said, "we must work harder to build a good IT infrastructure and sufficient and qualified human resources for the industry while all administrative services must be tailored to be accessible via the internet."

Besides building a standard administrative system, experts say, the government should promote IT education and application among State agencies, businesses, and the public use of computers.

Mai Liem Truc said the forming of an e-government is a must ‘but the scheme should be carried out step by step, considering the country’s actual conditions.’

All administrative services, regulations and activities at all levels must be accessible to the public through the computer network, which is regarded as the primary condition to building an e-government, experts said.

To help combat corruption in the system IT experts proposed that the State promptly issue regulations and sanctions necessary to ensure the supply of transparent and open information about State agencies, organisations and businesses’ activities on the network.

HCM City goes hi-tech

HCM City will lease a high-speed internet metropolitan area network (MAN) under a VND40 billion (US$2.5 million) contract signed on Tuesday.

Development of the city’s e-government infrastructure will link the online services of 90 public service units and city agencies.

HCM City will become the first place in the country with such a network, providing high-speed internet access to public services. The project will serve as a model for e-government nation-wide, said Minister of Post and Telematics Do Trung Ta. The HCM City Post Office and the Viet Nam Post and Telecommunications Corporation (VNPT) will develop the city’s information technology (IT) infrastructure and provide the MAN for five years pursuant to the contract signed by the IT Project Management Board and the HCM City Post Office.

VNPT will support the project in order to ensure its success beyond the initial five-year lease term, pledged Ta.

The application of a MAN to the city’s e-government will make online public services more effective and economical, said deputy chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan.

VNS - (15/11/2004)

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