Despite the fact that Dimitrovgrad is a small municipality, predominantly populated by elderly households, there is a belief in the benefits of new technologies – both in the field of eGovernment and in the introduction of digitisation to health services, the creation of local databases etc.
How important is cooperation between local self-governments and state authorities when it comes to helping municipalities provide better public services to citizens by introducing eGovernment?
– Cooperation between local selfgovernments and state bodies is of great importance when it comes to all social processes, including in the area of e-governance, especially when modern technologies and the internet are today’s reality, not the future.
The “eGovernment Portal” project is actually the result of partnership cooperation between state bodies and numerous local self-governments that published electronic services for citizens and the economy on the portal, alongside information related to these services.
One thing that it is certainly necessary to initiate in the coming period is motivation – both among local self-governments and state bodies – to provide online as many of the services within their jurisdiction as possible, as well as launching a larger media campaign and promotion of the actual portal.
If the goal is to use modern technologies in order to achieve more efficient and transparent work of state bodies and local self-government, the provision of e-services within the framework of the portal must be diversified in terms of the possibility of paying taxes, the possibility of including services in the languages of national minorities etc.
Creating local databases covering citizens and businesses will ease the creation of subsidy policies, social grants and local economic development
Everyone has the same goal – more effective two-way communication that saves money and time, while increasing the level satisfaction among citizens and their trust in institutions. What do you expect in this regard from the new Law on eGovernment?
– I expect conditions to be created for a complete and functional eGovernment. It is also very important to enable equal use of electronic and paper documents, thus reducing the use of paper documents and visiting counters to a minimum. State institutions will finally be able to efficiently exchange data, and citizens will no longer be couriers. However, in smaller, underdeveloped municipalities, such as Dimitrovgrad, where the predominant inhabitants are elderly households who lack adequate IT knowledge, e-commerce via eGovernment cannot be expected to be at a satisfactory level, regardless of the range of positive effects it provides.
In which areas do you see the greatest opportunities to contribute to digitisation in the future work of local self-governments, but also in the work of culture, health and other institutions in your municipality?
– It is natural for modern technologies to be more acceptable for the younger population, so it is logical that eGovernment services will be mainly used by businesses and future investors, as well as young people who have secure their future in some other municipalities or abroad. When it comes to the inhabitants of Dimitrovgrad, digitisation in healthcare is important, as is the availability of information regarding archival material. For the administration itself, along with faster and easier communication with state bodies, digitisation provides the possibility to create databases covering the population and their social status, the condition of agricultural holdings, cattle funds and entrepreneurs, which further eases policy creation in the part of subsidies, social grants and local economic development.