Editor : Martin Simamora, S.IP |Martin Simamora Press

Kamis, 14 Juli 2011

Much at stake with e-government

E-government’s potential is limitless. The move by government to increase public sector efficiency by, for example, allowing individuals to apply for a birth certificate or for a driver's licence via the click of a mouse is forward thinking.
Presently Bahamians can fill out their U.S. Visa applications online and then set up an "appointment" for an interview to get that Visa application approved.

However, when one considers the "red tape" which one has to go through to get any kind of information out of (or even into) the government system, it makes one wonder just how effective “e-government" can be in The Bahamas.

Is this something that The Bahamas is ready for?

Can government become efficient enough to successfully conduct the majority of its business online?

Anyone who has ever had to go into a government office, or had to deal with those who work within a government office, can answer that question.
Perhaps, when one considers that e-government can no doubt reduce or eliminate many of the inherent inefficiencies that presently exists within the public sector, then it makes one hope for success.

It will take a long time to put all of the files and other types of information that have been a part of the government sector for decades into a computer system. And it will be more than just putting information into the system, it will be a matter of ensuring that such information is correct.

Imagine the embarrassment that could occur when "Joe Blow" gets mixed up with "Average Joe" and is stuck with "Average Joe's" criminal record, because someone made a mistake.
While "e-government" is certainly a great idea, past experience with the government sector may be the reason why so many Bahamians are skeptical about the idea.

Persons are concerned about security issues, in spite of the fact that Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance Zhivargo Laing guarantees "total security" of information.

Perhaps it would have been more reasonable to set a goal of having "e-government" completed by 2012 or 2013.

There is too much at stake to risk information error or security breaches to have e-government rushed.

Unless every effort is taken to dot every "I" and cross every "T", what is supposed to be something beneficial can turn out to be a disaster. And when it comes to the Internet and personal information, a disaster can last for a long, long time.


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