Hurray to the eGovernment Solution!
The problem that is poor service in Government is not unique to Kenya, it is widespread in all countries worldwide. Proof of that is the need to create a more efficient system that can be adapted globally to make government services easy to access and utilize; eGovernment. This system is widely defined as the use of electronic communications devices, computers & the internet to provide public services to citizens and other persons in a country or region.
Necessity is the mother of invention and the need for eGovernment spurred from problems that running Government is too expensive, very inefficient and ineffective as well as very inconvenient to citizens who live far from the major cities and in the case of Kenya, the capital city Nairobi.
This system was originally created with the aim of improving government processes, connecting citizens and building external interactions with various stakeholders.
As is with anything ‘digital’, its sole purpose is to make life easier for individuals seeking particular services. Contrary to popular belief, the eGovernment system is in place in many countries to improve the internal working culture of the public sector. The days of leaving a coat hanging on the seat as you gallivant the city running your personal errands is now long gone. This system will monitor your performance based on your quarterly or annual key performance indicators and rate you against what is expected from your post. This makes appraisal processes much simpler and more efficient as well as less time consuming.
Human resource is a key resource in any organisation whether in the public or private sectors. The eGovernment system employs an ERP system that is able to help in the planning and control of performance of process resources in HR, finance and general operations. This inevitably makes internal processes faster and more efficient which in turn translates to the service to its citizens or public.
eGovernment, if employed effectively, can inadvertently cut costs in the public sector by improving the in:out ratio. Critical documents like Identification Cards now take less than 5 days to process with the eGovernment system. Five years ago, this simple process would take up to 30 days to complete. The manual system required that the documents travel through a number of offices before they could be approved, and woe to you if anyone on the list of signees was on leave, no one breaks protocol so you must wait longer. However with eGovernment approval is online and if on leave, the signee must delegate to another individual to ensure a continuous process. This creates empowerment, transfers power and ensures authority and resources are distributed to the benefit of the citizens.
The Government was far reached for the ordinary citizen, so much so that it meant taking leave of office to allocate necessary time to walk into a Government office to be served. However with the advent of eGovernment, the Government can now talk to it citizens on a regular basis. It can now treat them as customers or publics who consume their services, a preserve for the private sector in previous years.
The advantages of the eGovernment system include increased accountability of the public servant to the public. They must provide citizens with intricate details of all the activities run using tax payers money making them more accountable and therefore more responsible. Another advantage is that the Government now can listen to its citizens from across the country without having to physically meet with them or set up expensive forums to get their approval or feedback.
The biggest advantage to citizens is probably the fact that with eGovernment there is an increased improvement of public services to them in a more convenient and less costly manner.