The best example is the introduction of e-permits for construction. The process of issuing them has become incomparably more efficient, which enabled a significant advancement for Serbia on the Doing Business Index.
The FIC recently organised the presentation of the latest edition of its White Book. What were your most important recommendations contained within it and were they accepted by the Serbian Government?
– We paid the most attention to digital identity, or a more flexible digital signature, as well as the development of e-government. We are glad that the Government accepted our recommendation to extend the use of flexible digital signatures to also include transactions between businesses and citizens, and not just citizens and the public administration, as was initially envisaged. Apart from that, we also provided other recommendations that we expect to be respected with the adopting of bylaws linked to the Law on Electronic Documents, Electronic Identification and Trust Services for Electronic Transactions. In the field of e-government, or electronic administration, we notice a holistic approach of the Government and its work on important issues, and one of our main recommendations is for the enabling all forms of electronic payments, such as with cards and e-/m-banking, for services on the eGovernment portal.
We still have some unresolved issues. It still isn’t possible to buy digital content on GooglePlay or at the Apple Store, so that the user pays them alongisde their monthly mobile phone bill as a result of, in our view, the inadequate interpretation of the Payment Services Act and the foreign exchange regime.
It is essential to enable the economy to operate electronically in all fields, such as electronic invoices, keeping business records in electronic form, and the like
What, in your opinion, should be the next steps in the digital transformation process? What would ease the operations of businesses in Serbia the most at this juncture?
– The digital transformation process should unfold in parallel at two levels. On one side is the state administration, while on the other is the economy and citizens. It is necessary to establish data registers and network government authorities and institutions so that they can mutually exchange data. The next step is to introduce new eGovernment services and improve existing ones. One important recommendation of the FIC E-Commerce Committee is for electronic payments of all administrative charges and taxes, so that the citizen is not obliged to submit hard copy proof of payment.
It is essential to enable the economy to operate electronically in all fields, such as electronic invoices, keeping business records in electronic form, and the like. Some of these things are already possible to a certain extent, but companies daren’t use them due to inconsistent interpretations of regulations by the state. For example, it can occur that administrative authorities insist on the use of a hard copy forms or company stamps on some document.