E-KAZAKHSTAN

Kazakhstan 2016 | TELECOMS & IT | FOCUS: E-GOVERNMENT

In the 10 years Kazakhstan's e-Government platform has been up and operating, it has become one of the world's most successful, so much so that citizens can access some features with just a text message.

Just 10 years after President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced his ambition of creating an electronic government, Kazakhstan's e-Gov has become one of the most successful in the world. It has transformed nearly all aspects of the way the government communicates and provides services to its clients, both internally and external. e-Gov is changing how the Kazakh government works and shares information, and has the ability to transform the government's relationship with its citizens, businesses, and other arms of government.

These new electronic systems have been creating scores of benefits for citizens and simplifying their transactions with government entities in ways such as reducing the wait time for citizens in need of certain government services and improving the quality and accessibility of certain services. Around the world, e-Gov has also been lauded for reducing levels of corruption due to its ability to increase transparency for all agencies and services it is implemented in. e-Gov also has the added benefit of aiding governments in reducing expenditures and producing higher revenues. While Kazakhstan's e-Gov system is currently ranked 28th in the UN's e-Government development rating, the country's public sector spending on IT is considerably lower than any of the top 30. The country only spends an annual $1 billion on ICT, compared to the UK's $9.1 billion or South Korea's $2.5 billion. The basic e-Gov platform costs the government just under $80 million.

The system has transformed considerably since President Nursultan Nazarbayev first launched the initiative just 10 years ago. Over the past decade, Kazakhstan's e-Gov has gained the trust and confidence of both Kazakh citizens and international experts. The development level of the Kazakh e-Government is rated among “emerging leaders" and is considered as one of the most successful in the world today. This is a great indicator and means that people trust in the e-Government system. In 2012, the system served more than 10 million requests, and just two years later that number increased to more than 35 million. Within the first six months of 2015 alone, Kazakhstan's e-Gov managed to process some 19 million requests and services.

Ruslan Yensebayev, the CEO of National Information Technologies (NITEC), recently sat down with TBY and discussed why Kazakhstan has been so successful in building and implanting its e-Gov platoform. “Such a result was achieved thanks to a number of factors, such as infrastructure development, public services automation and optimization, and growing user activity," Yensebayev said.

In any country without a similar electronic government system, the relationship between citizens, businesspeople, and state agencies would be confined to a government office. If a businessperson wanted to set up a business in Kazakhstan, the task of compiling all necessary documents and then waiting for the government to process the request used to take at least 30 days. With the country's new e-Gov system, such procedures will not take longer than 15 minutes.

The e-Government system in Kazakhstan made several serious advances over the past 10 years. At first, the platform was created as an informational portal where citizens could obtain information regarding state agencies, their work, and the services that they deliver to citizens. The platform also included a compilation of regulatory legal terms and other law information for citizens to access. The government then built an interactive interface, in which users could send requests to different state agencies from home, saving an important amount of time for all parties involved. The most recent and biggest improvement the government made to the platform was adding the option for citizens to pay state taxes and fees, as well as fines and utility services all online, saving time and resources as citizens previously needed to go to a bank for these transactions. The government's efforts to make access to its e-Gov platform have gone so far as to build a mobile application for users to access on their smartphones, and, for those without smartphones, some services are available through SMS.