DIGITAL DECISIONS

Mozambique 2016 | TELECOMS & IT | FOCUS: E-GOVERNMENT + E-BAU

Between 2015 and 2016, Mozambique fell five positions in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index. The government is investing in the GovNET and e-BAU platforms to facilitate procedures and cut the costs of acquiring business licenses and improving services provided to the public.

According to the World Bank Group's Ease of Doing Business Index, Mozambique's distance to frontier status improved from 53.66 in 2015 to 53.98 in 2016. This number shows a minimal improvement. Mozambique is 0.32 percentage points closer to 100 or, in other words, closer to the frontier based on the best performance indicators across all sectors over time. Nevertheless, in terms of ranking, Mozambique dropped by five positions, moving from the 128th to the 133rd position. This means that even though Mozambique improved its performance, countries that were below Mozambique in the ranking are improving at a faster rate.

To improve the business environment and make it faster and easier to do business, the government of Mozambique has invested in the e-government platform and the One-stop Electronic Service Counter (e-BAU) project.

According to Bill Gates, “deploying an e-government strategy will help governments improve productivity and service delivery through seamless interoperability, as well as dramatically help cut costs.” The Mozambican e-government strategy of 2006 comprises three objectives, namely to improve efficiency and effectiveness in the provision of public services; ensure transparency and accountability of civil servants; and provide access to information to develop private sector activities and simplify the lives of citizens. The e-government Interoperability Framework was established in 2009 and plays a key role in better capitalizing on governmental information systems by ensuring that various sectoral databases collect information to be shared across platforms. In Mozambique, the National Institute of Information and Communication Technologies (INTIC) coordinates, plans, supports operations, and monitors the implementation of projects while developing policy documents or drafts regulations to establish a legal basis for new electronic services. According to Dulce Chilundo, General Director of INTIC, the intranet of the government (GovNET) has been growing rapidly, benefiting both the government as well as the general population.

On one side, the government has a common platform for communication connecting central, provincial, district, and municipality institutions on the same network. Public institutions can easily create Virtual Private Networks while improving the security over electronic transactions between them. For the general population e-government applications ease bureaucratic processes and give them greater access to information.
The e-BAU project even further improves the services provided to the public. This system was launched in August 2014 and uses a single electronic portal architecture that enables integration of business licensing and, as Dulce explained to TBY, “allows dynamic and flexible decision-making at a sectoral level, which in turn facilitates the delivery of public services to entrepreneurs and investors.” The e-BAU system consists of five platforms namely the infrastructure GovNET, interoperability, ePayment, digital certification, and a business licensing platform. With this application, the public can benefit from the interoperability of services between institutions. The system is currently implemented in Maputo town and the provinces of Maputo, Gaza, Inhambane, Sofala, Tete, Nampula and Cabo Delgado. As Dulce told TBY, “in each of these provinces the e-BAU systems connect the BAU facilities as well as a number of institutions that are relevant for business licensing.” In terms of real quantitative benefits, the government has calculated that the procedure time for industry, commercial, and tourism licensing has decreased by about 50%, and that document preparation expenses as well as travel costs have been cut by 60%.

Nevertheless, as Viviane Reding, current member of the European Parliament and former Vice-President on the European Commission points out, the “participation of people in decision-making is the real goal of e-government. Governments have to do more than just release information to the public.” The GovNET and e-BAU should be just a first step toward popular participation and public scrutiny of government decisions.