Vietnam to Have Digital Government by 2025

11:19:07 AM | 3/19/2021

E-Government targets are expected to be basically completed in 2021, with public services of Category 4 brought online, and the digital government will be formed by 2025.

Fundamental transformation

At the recent meeting of the National Committee on E-Government, briefing on outstanding results, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Chairman of the Committee, affirmed that the National Committee on E-Government was given more power to lead digital transformation, digital economy, and smart cities. The legal environment for e-Government development has basically been fully formed.

In addition, digital transformation has achieved initial optimistic outcomes. To date, over 50% of ministries, branches and localities have built and launched digital transformation programs, schemes and plans. Many Vietnamese tech companies have mastered core technologies and developed technology platforms for digital transformation. Fostering digital application and digital transformation for businesses has initially come to fruition. The Ministry of Information and Communications has launched the Digital Transformation Support for SMEs Portal (attracting 400 business users, supporting nearly 200 businesses using digital platforms for digital transformation).

The above results have helped Vietnam climb in the e-Government rankings. According to the United Nations Report on e-Government in 2020, Vietnam ranked No. 86 out of 193 countries and territories, three places higher than in 2018.

Regarding the roadmap for building a digital government, Minister Nguyen Manh Hung said that, in the first quarter or early second quarter, the e-Government strategy toward digital Government will be approved. E-Government targets will be basically completed in 2021, with a focus on bringing online 100% of Category 4 public services. Vietnam's digital government will be formed by 2025, lifting up Vietnam’s e-government rankings to No. 50 in the world. Government services are to be provided automatically around the clock, on-demand and personalized. New public services are developed in a timely manner, based on open data and engaged by governments, citizens, businesses and experts. And, then the next step is becoming a smart government.

The transition from e-government to digital government is a fundamental transformation, he added. Online public services become digital services. The concept of an information technology system is replaced by a digital platform where the service-based approach is upgraded to a data-driven approach, and web and PC technology will become Mobile, Clouding, AI and IoT technology. The participation is scaled up from governmental agencies to government, people and enterprises. “The challenge of e-government is integration and the challenge of digital government is the management of changes,” said Minister Hung.

Many bottlenecks need to be removed

With these impressive results, e-Government has been a prominent highlight of this administration, but, according to many experts, in order to form a digital government by 2025, there are still many problems that need to be solved.

Mr. Truong Gia Binh, Chairman of the Board of Directors of FPT Corporation, said the finance for IT is really a matter of concern. Localities and enterprises must determine how much they can spend on IT in order to allocate and use it appropriately.

In addition, the safety and security of many places have lacked adequate attention. The budget is limited (much lower than the 10% stated in Directive 14/CTTTg on June 7, 2019 of the Prime Minister on enhancing cybersecurity to lift up Vietnam's rankings).

In addition, although the technical system for connecting and sharing data has been formed, many government agencies are not yet determined or willing to share and open data and mine data provided by governmental agencies. In this regard, Mr. Nguyen The Trung, General Director of DTT Technology Company, member of the Working Group of the National Committee on E-Government, proposed engaging all stakeholders and creating economic values. The Government needs to bring Vietnam's Open Data on international ratings to an appropriate level (e.g. Top 3 in Southeast Asia and Top 50 in the world). Given well-established institutional and data gateway conditions, the Ministry of Information and Communications needs to have a specific plan to build open data (not just gateways) in governmental agencies and soon launch open data licenses of Vietnam.

In addition, MIC needs to support established initiatives such as Health Disclosure, Statistical Disclosure, Budget Disclosure, iGiaoduc and VMAP, to turn these initiatives into open data-based platforms for the society to participate and cooperate more (as in recent epidemic prevention) and create economic values (e.g. improving productivity and performance of governmental agencies) and creating new business opportunities.

Besides, there are challenges in human resources, information security and people's habits.

Remarking on upcoming tasks, the Ministry of Information and Communications already set six national key tasks: Completing the legal environment; Developing national digital infrastructure; Developing national digital platforms; Developing national data; Developing national applications; and Ensuring national network safety and security.

By Thu Ha, Vietnam Business Forum