Podgorica, April 27, 2022 – Montenegro’s citizens are ready to use digital tools and services, while a large number of companies are already feeling the benefits of existing online content. However, there is a need to accelerate the development of simple digital services that facilitate access to public administration. Digital literacy is on the rise, and two-thirds of citizens report that they have the skills necessary for using the Internet. At the same time, awareness is rising, as well as trust in e-services, so 52% of citizens and 64% of companies state that they have full confidence in the security of e-services.
This can be seen from the data presented at today's conference dedicated to the state of play, experiences and future of digital transformation of public administration in Montenegro, organized within the project eServices and digital infrastructure as a measure of response to COVID-19, funded by the European Union and implemented by UNDP in cooperation with the Ministry of Public Administration, Digital Society and Media.
As a stimulus to the digitalization process, the Ministry of Public Administration, Digital Society and Media, with the support of the EU Delegation to Montenegro and the UNDP Office, provided 10,000 e-ID readers, of which 7,000 are for citizens planning to apply for e-ID cards, while 3,000 are intended for the most vulnerable groups, in order to facilitate the delivery of administrative services.
Using the occasion, the Minister of Public Administration, Digital Society and Media Tamara Srzentić said that “we work together, in a committed manner and change the culture in public administration in order to build a new modern public administration of all on the principles of openness, inclusion, application of human-centric design and best agile practices”. “In order to make this possible, we had to create strategic foundations programmed for development, mark challenges and provide answers to overcome them, map the path of development, expectations and opportunities, anticipate investment costs, and quickly offer digital solutions that will make life easier for citizens and businesses. At the same time, we have improved the infrastructure of government services, and increased the degree and level of cyber security, but also the degree of interoperability and connectivity of registers between government agencies, which is one of the most important prerequisites for the digitalization of public administration services. In this demanding process, which paved the way for digitalization and digital transformation, we had the selfless help of our partners from UNDP and the Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro, for which we are especially grateful“, Srzentić said.
Yngve Engstrom, Head of the Cooperation Department at the European Union Delegation to Montenegro, said that “digitalization can be a strong driver of development, but also tend to increase existing inequalities. Digital transformation is an opportunity to reduce and simplify administrative procedures while increasing public administration's transparency, effectiveness and accountability. However, we need to close the 'digital divide' to make sure no citizen is left behind”, Engstrom said.
The digital transformation of public administration has a strong potential to improve the quality of administration itself and relations with citizens.
“In order to adapt itself to the needs of modern society and provide more efficient, effective and high-quality e-services, public administration must understand the needs of citizens and the economy and improve the system so that it provides quick and easy access to public services based on that insight”, Daniela Gašparikova, UNDP Representative for Montenegro, said.
“The public sector is expected to meet the expectations of citizens and offer services that are efficient, cost-effective and as inclusive as possible – so that no user is excluded. Citizens now want better government services – they expect speed, simplicity, transparency and cost effectiveness – including one-stop access for multiple services. Protection of personal data and information security are non-negotiable priorities. All this encourages public administration to constantly invest in innovation, redesign services according to the experiences, needs and priorities of citizens and economy to exploit the full potential of digital technology”, Gašparikova said.
Prof. Dr. Dragana Radević, Director of Research and Analysis at CEED Consulting, spoke about how our citizens and the economy perceive e-services. Two panels on improving the framework for digital governance and development of inclusive e-services, were used to present key findings and recommendations of previous analyzes conducted in cooperation with UNDP, Ministry, with the support of the Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro.
The analyzes can be downloaded from here.