For e-Government, rules needed from the start: State Counsellor

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State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi addresses the first coordination meeting of e-Government Steering Committee. Photo: MNA

State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi attended and addressed the First Coordination Meeting of e-Government Steering Committee held in the meeting hall of the Ministry of Transport and Communications in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday morning.
In her address to the meeting Steering Committee Patron State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said “right from the beginning, e-Government has been included as one of the policy items in the 12-point Economic policy statement. It was written there that we would strive to implement it. Although it was supposed to be implemented successfully, I have noted that this year, there has been a slowing down. For e-Government to be implemented speedily and to achieve progress, there are three requirements: skills, investment and cooperation.

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Vice President U Myint Swe. 
Photo: MNA

The understanding is that this meeting is called to fulfill these requirements. The Steering Committee Chairman Vice President U Myint Swe will lead this. Of the three, cooperation is the first thing that can be done quickly. If there is no cooperation between government departments, states and regional governments, e-Government will not come about.
Regarding investments and skills, we need to wait for the financial situation of the government and the situation of the education system. But I believe that cooperation can be done immediately today. Only with cooperation can the aim of e-Government be achieved.
The main aim is to benefit the country and the people. To be in line with the world, usage of new systems of the new age cannot be avoided. If not, our country will be left behind other countries. Here I have facts about e-Government given to me. There are people in this meeting who know about these facts in detail more than us.
As mentioned earlier, cooperation is very important. Without cooperation between one department and another department, don’t talk about e-Government. Even in other matters the rate of success would not be as fast as it should. E-Government concerns the whole government. In fact it is related to the whole country.
The main aim of conducting e-Government is for the convenience of the people and this includes completing tasks quickly. Another aim is to eradicate corruption. Some say there is no country in the world which is free from corruption. But we should strive towards reducing it as much as possible.
E-Government can greatly support this (reducing corruption). Another thing is our country and government has been said to be slow in work, work is not completed quickly and there is too much red tape. To avoid this, it is important to implement e-Government quickly. At the same time the advances in science and technology brings both benefits and dangers. To understand this at an early stage and to avoid these dangers, rules, regulations, procedures need to be adopted and established with care.
We need to balance good effects and bad effects all the time. We should not push e-Government hastily saying that everything about it is good. It is well know that not only e-Government but modern technologies are affecting the personal security and the security of all of us. If preventive measures are not put in place right now despite knowing about it, we could reach a stage where it would be impossible to handle it anymore.
It is very important not to misuse and abuse these technologies and new systems. Misuse and abuses must be prevented from both the government side as well as the public side. That is why when a new project is implemented I want you to make your decisions only after looking at it from both sides.
We shouldn’t see only what we want to see. If we ignore the pitfalls and see only the benefits to push ahead, we will reach a stage where we couldn’t handle the problems anymore.
Under the leadership of Vice President U Myint Swe, decisions related to e-Government need to be taken transparently and in a straight forward manner. What are our strengths? What are our weaknesses? Some matters shouldn’t be implemented at this moment. Why? Is it because we are unable or lack the skill or money? Is it something that shouldn’t be implemented? These must be openly discussed.
Answers should be found through open discussions. I think all chief ministers from states and regions are present here. There can be challenges in your states and regions. This meeting is the opportunity to discuss these matters.
That is why you need to submit (these matters). Some put emphasis on the weaknesses of their state/region governments because they want assistance and support. Some will say more about their strength to show off. Both need to be avoided. Don’t show off. And don’t point out the weakness to gain sympathy. State the situation objectively and correctly.
What can be done to establish e-Government quickly and successfully? I want you all to think of how your department, state or region can support in what way.
All will have their respective strengths and weaknesses. The Ministry of Transport and Communications has been working for the establishment of e-Government throughout the two-year period of the incumbent government. Due to weaknesses in cooperation, coordination and communications, the desired success and progress was not achieved. As this group has been formed, you all need to discuss together. This sort of meeting couldn’t be conducted all the time as Chief Ministers of states and regions had to leave behind their duties and responsibilities for a while.
Use this opportunity for the best. Discuss fully and completely while there is this opportunity. The Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Defence need to participate from the security side.
Our country’s Security Advisor U Thaung Tun needs to participate in the discussion on security. It is important to take lessons from the experience of other countries.
Going back to the facts given to me, mobile telephone network is now covering 89 per cent of our population. The plan is to cover 92 per cent by 2020. I know that the Minister for Transport and Communications can explain more about this. In e-Government, there will be instances where we will get the opportunity to think about certain matters that we had not thought about before.
For example, we will clearly know how much e-Government can be of support to health only after the Ministry of Health has presented their views. The same applies to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation. Being an agriculture country this ministry needs to point out how e-Government can support the development of agriculture, livestock and irrigation sector. In conclusion, the State Counsellor requested the respective departments to openly discuss how their departments could provide support for the success of e-Government.
Next, Steering Committee Committee Chairman Vice President U Myint Swe said all know that implementation of e-Government work processes were attempted starting from the year 2000 but there were delays due to various requirements. The successful development of an e-Government system in a democracy government will make the people know and trust the works of the government and the government will become a government that the people rely upon. Establishing an e-Government is not only providing service using modern technologies but the success of an e-Government system is measured by the two main points of the majority of the people using the online services with trust and to create online services that the people need.
The e-Government Steering Committee and work committees were formed to establish and implement required policies to conduct effective e-Government work processes.
With the financial support of the Asian Development Bank and technical support of India’s Infosys Limited, government departments, ministries, business owner groups, research organizations, work agencies, local and foreign experts on e-Government and ICT are studying and comparing the experiences of the countries of the world and is preparing an e-Government Master Plan for Myanmar to achieve the aim of e-Government system and to systematically draw and implement a good strategy, policies and work process framework. After this programmes which need to be done on a priority basis such as short, mid and long term work programmes need to be successfully managed and implemented.

While implementing in this manner, we must not lose sight of the country’s work on regional development work processes jointly implemented within ASEAN countries.
The first requirement for a successful implementation of e-Government works is to establish a strategic vision. In implementing Government to Government (G2G), Government to Business (G2B) and Government to Citizen (G2C) works, services required by the people need to be reviewed first. Only then can the services be effective and beneficial to the people and create a good environment that provides good public services.
Implementing some of the work processes would require much coordination between departments, central offices, Union government and states/regions governments. By that time, it is important to aim toward benefiting the people. Some works will not show visible results in the short term but will have to be conducted to achieve long term results. Relevant government organizations need to specifically designate and assign duties and responsibilities to e-Government (or) IT sub section. Only then can the e-Government works be implemented and run smoothly.
Instead of setting up ICT basic infrastructures individually and separately, setting it up together and sharing it will be more effective and speed up the works. It can be seen that this was how it was done internationally.
It is important to put special emphasis on cyber security and information security in distributing e-Government services. Only when the personal data of the users are safe and secure can the people trust, accept and use e-Government services. Laws and work processes required for cyber, information and data security need to be drawn up and implemented said the Vice President.
If the e-Government process is successful, sectors like education, health, social and economy will develop. This can be seen clearly if the public services provided in developed countries are studied. The Vice President added to specially concentrate and strive toward successful implementation of e-Government system as per the remark of the Patron of the Steering Committee. All are urged to openly discuss and coordinate based on the Master Plan drawn up in alignment with the economic policy set by the government, said the Vice President.
Afterwards, e-Government Steering Committee Vice Chairman (1) Union Minister U Thaung Tun and Vice Chairman (2) Union Minister U Thant Sin Maung discussed and explained extensively about e-Government work processes.
Following this, Union Ministers, states/regions Chief Ministers, technicians and experts provided their suggestions and discussed about requirements on implementing the e-Government work processes. Steering Committee Chairman the Vice President and officials explained and discussed about the suggestions and discussions made.
The meeting came to a conclusion after e-Government Steering Committee Chairman Vice President U Myint Swe delivered a concluding speech.
Present at the meeting were members of the e-Government Steering Committee, Union Ministers, Union Attorney General, Union Auditor General, Union Civil Service Board Chairman, Nay Pyi Taw Council Chairman, States/Regions Chief Ministers, Central Bank of Myanmar Governor, Deputy Ministers, Myanmar Computer Federation patron U Thaung Tin and officials.

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