Local government officials have welcomed a move to deliver services online, saying it will cut bureaucracy, time wastage and cost.
Through ‘RwandaOnline’, government plans to make services accessible on the Internet and mobile devices. The development will be implemented under an agreement between government and Ngali Holdings, a local firm.
Officials in the Ministry of Youth and ICT say the move would reduce costs incurred by people seeking a range of government services, and increase efficiency as well as offer jobs to the youth.
Didier Nkurikiyimfura, the director-general of ICT at the ministry, said the programme initially targets 100 services offered by government agencies but it is part of the ultimate goal to fully digitalise all government services.
“We are targeting simplicity and intuitiveness,” he said, adding that endless queues will be no more and corruption bred through interaction will also be eliminated with the new scheme.
The public will be able to access 100 crucial services initially ranging from birth certificate, passport, health insurance and application for identity card, visa permit, transfer of land title, ordinary passport, trading licence, motorcycle inspection and driving licence.
The first batch of services will be rolled out early next year.
To implement “RwandaOnline” project, Ngali Holdings will work with some other knowledgeable international subcontractors, according to Nkurikiyimfura.
The company was tasked to build the system, run it, before later transferring it to government.
At the onset, the company will bear all the implementation costs and government will surrender part of the fees being charged for any service, to reimburse Ngali.
To build the system, current service providers will provide online content and give the company access to their database.
The service providers include the Local Government ministry, the Rwanda Development Board, the national ID office, among others.
To popularise the scheme, Ngali will conduct awareness campaigns in communities.
Nkurikiyimfura said currently obtaining a service can take an applicant three to five days. But once RwandaOnline is rolled out, the bureaucracy would be ironed out.
Those seeking a service will be charged with the same amount of money that is paid for any service today. They will be registered in the system and obtain a code, and a print-out advice slip.
Nkurikiyimfura said feedback can be obtained on the spot or within three days, but people will be able to track their applications online using mobile phones.
Modeste Nizeyimana, an administrative assistant at Mukura Sector in Rutsiro District, Western Province, said it currently takes some residents two hours to reach sector office, which cost them a lot in terms of time and money.
“Sensitising citizens to own the programme should start now,” Nizeyimana said, but expressed doubts about the applicability of the system in the rural areas with low Internet penetration.
Roger Ndoba, the executive secretary of Masaka Sector in Kicukiro District, said the online system will simplify business.
“It is challenging, for example, when you have to verify the civil status of an applicant who registered twenty years back in the birth registry. But online system will make it easy,” Ndoba said.
Kicukiro mayor Paul Jules Ndamage said it was long overdue and his district had already digitalised some services in its land office.
But Ndamage urged caution on some important services like the marriage certificates which he said require physical check.