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Minister Molefhi Launches e-Gov Strategy

1. We are gathered here this evening to launch the e-Government Strategy. Let me be quick to point out that one of the key tasks facing Governments today is the provision of efficiency and productivity. As part of service delivery, governments generate, collect, process and share huge quantities of data and information within and also with external agencies.

2. In the 21st century, we no longer require an elaborate human resource to achieve this, as we have Information and Communications Technology (ICT). Indeed, with the power of ICTs, we do not just ‘deliver services’, but deliver them efficiently. Therefore ICTs are an absolute crucial tool for achieving optimal service delivery thus helping us in developing the country to catalyse our developmental goals.

3. As we have heard, our e-Government Strategy outlines the processes for the modernization of Government, the enhancement of transparency, accountability and good governance; making the Government more result-oriented, efficient and customer centric. E-Government is therefore going to bring huge benefits to our society.

4. This will enable citizens and business community to access Government services and information as efficiently and effectively as possible through the use of internet and other ICTs. E-Government is also going to facilitates public participation in government, which promotes transparency, maintains public confidence and trust in our Government and its institutions.

5. To derive the benefits articulated in this strategy, a secure ICT infrastructure; enabling laws; an ICT-literate population; and a participative public are required. Information and Education campaign also needs to take place within government itself, and the public at large, to sell and demonstrate the full advantages and benefits of the transitioning to e-government.

6. Ladies and gentlemen, e-Government is not a dream; there are some successful e-Government programmes already taking place throughout the world. To illustrate this, let me cite just a few examples where countries have successfully implemented e-Government:

(a) In India, to reduce corruption, state governments are web-enabling land record search functions and property tax statements – which both improve transaction transparency and increases state government revenues. I believe that our government is striving towards that.

(b) In countries from Australia to Estonia, you can vote online.

(c) In Singapore – and increasingly in other rapidly advancing nations – you can pay your speeding fines online and obtain birth, marriage and death certificates free of charge through the government portal. Very soon these activities will be possible to everyone in Botswana.

7. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the on-going global economic recession has affected the implementation of e-Government initiatives due to scarcity of financial resources. However, E-Government was not included in the initial NDP 10 project pool. It will be budgeted for in 2013/14 financial year.

8. Due to the huge undertaking required to implement e-Government, there is need for public-private partnerships (PPPs). Using PPPs will enable government to overcome many obstacles and constraints such as lack of financial resources, and low implementation skills capacity within Government. Private sector participation not only adds important financial muscle to Government efforts, but also increases competition and investment, opportunities and prospects a win-win manifest.

9. It should be noted, however, that PPPs are not simple in both their execution and as an alternative to traditional procurement. As a result, this can raise governance issues which need to be carefully addressed. These issues include the need to comply with the current procurement rules and anti-corruption efforts; the need to apply principles of selection; and effective methodologies for assessing public costs and benefits – both in the short and long term.

10. Ladies and gentlemen, we all recognize the tremendous benefits e-government can bring – to government, the public and businesses community. I trust that the e-Government strategy will help us – each and every one – in our efforts towards meeting the Maitlamo policy objectives, NDP 10, Vision 2016, and Millennium Development Goals.

11. I officially launch Botswana National e-Government Strategy.

12. I thank you.