Toward Comprehensive Development of Digital Government

9:40:39 AM | 6/24/2021

Vietnam aims to develop a complete digital government, focus resources and mobilize the participation of the whole political system, have innovative solutions and methods to basically achieve the e-government development targets by 2021 and the digital government targets by 2025.

This is the direction of the Prime Minister’s Decision 942/QD-TTg dated June 15, 2021 on e-government development strategy toward digital government in 2021-2025 and to 2030. The decision is considered an important turning point of digital transformation in general and digital government development in particular.

From a service-oriented approach to a data-driven approach

With the newly approved e-government development strategy toward digital government, the concept of "digital government" was first introduced by the Prime Minister.

Accordingly, digital government is e-government by nature, supplemented with changes in approach and implementation methods driven by digital technology. Therefore, digital government development means e-government development. Digital government already includes e-government in it.

E-government is simply understood as a government with four “Nos”: No meeting in person, no paper document, no contact in handling administrative procedures, and no cash needed for payment.

Digital government is e-government with four “Haves": Have all secure actions in the digital environment, Have the ability to provide new services quickly, Have the ability to use resources optimally and Have the ability to create development, lead the country's digital transformation, and effectively solve major problems in socio-economic development and management.

According to Information and Communications Minister Nguyen Manh Hung, the transformation from e-government into digital government is a fundamental transformation, from online public services to digital services, with the concept of an information technology system being replaced by a digital platform; from a service-oriented approach to a data-driven approach; from the participation of government agencies to the participation of government, people and businesses; from reforming administrative procedures to changing governance models among other things.

Earlier in 2020, in the E-Government Development Index (EGDI) Report, the United Nations used the term "Digital Government" for the first time. This reflected the shifting trend of countries from e-government to digital government.

Strategic thinking is quick action

Decision 942/QD-TTg also sets high missions and goals for the development path toward the digital government in the coming time. The vision is that Vietnam has a high level of e-government and digital government development index in the world, belonging to the Top 50 countries by 2025, and Top 30 countries by 2030, ranked by the United Nations.

The strategy sets a target that by 2025, all administrative procedures will be provided online at Level 4; at least 80% of administrative procedures will be settled entirely online and people will only need to enter data once; at least 90% of people and businesses will be satisfied with the handling of administrative procedures and at least 20% of administrative procedures delivered by government agencies will be slashed from now.

Especially, for the first time, localities will develop plans to secure annual funding from the state budget for digital government, striving for a higher spending rate than the world average. Countries currently spend about 1-2% of total budget spending on digital government. Some countries like Singapore and South Korea spend at a higher rate.

Breakthrough solution is deploying an open platform and approach

In the Fourth Industrial Revolution, countries that take the lead, go ahead and act quickly will have the opportunity to achieve breakthrough development. In other words, in the digital age, it is not a story of “big fish eat small fish” but “fast fish eat slow fish”. The strategy sets out the fundamental goal of completing e-government development targets by 2021 and forming a digital government by 2025.

To achieve its objectives, the strategy sets out six key national tasks: Improving the legal environment; developing digital infrastructure; developing digital platforms and national scale systems; developing national digital data; developing national applications and services; and ensuring network security.

According to Minister Nguyen Manh Hung, the digital platform is identified as a breakthrough solution to promote faster digital government development, reduce costs, and increase efficiency. The platform is created by excellent digital technology businesses, enabling governmental agencies, organizations and individuals to use it as a service instead of having to invest and operate it themselves.

Besides, it is an open approach for people, businesses and other organizations to appropriately participate in operations of governmental agencies, interact with governmental agencies to jointly enhance transparency and quality of services, solve problems together and create value for society together.

If, in the past, e-government development usually aimed for better service for people, businesses and society, in this strategy, it further aims to equip working tools for public employees to best perform their tasks, including virtual assistants or working and collaborating platforms in the digital environment.

By Ha Linh, Vietnam Business Forum