By Max Patrick Ocaido
Government is making progress in ensuring automation of service delivery for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and Local Governments, according to Karooro Okurut, Minister for General Duties.
Karooro Okurut said this while representing ICT minister Frank Tumwebaze at the one day Government Citizen Interaction Centre (GCIC) workshop at Mestil Hotel, Kampala.
Under the theme, “Building capacity to enhance to efficiency of government-citizen interaction,” the workshop was aimed at discussing how to harness “Open Government” for delivering equitable development outcomes. In her remarks, Karooro commended Konrad Adeneur Stiftung for the strategic partnership with GCIC saying it is coming at a time when there is high appetite for public participation in governance issues.
“This workshop is timely and strengthens the efforts of government towards reinvigorating citizen engagement in monitoring of public services, to deliver services to its citizens, and enable a more vibrant citizen-government engagement,” she said.
Karooro said that government’s move to adopt e-governance has transformed citizen interaction and built a strong foundation for desirable use of resources and enhanced efficiency.
“ICT has enabled government to accelerate websites as a tool for disseminating information. I therefore commend NITA-U for digitizing government e-services. This has transformed and eased access to service delivery,” Karooro said, before warning the public against misuse of social media. Currently, there are 284 government websites and 297 applications are in place.
According to the UN e-government survey of 2018, Uganda’s online service index improved from 50% in 2016 to 57% in 2018, which puts the country in the high online service index bracket. The UN survey also indicated that Uganda’s e-government development index improved from 36% in 2016 to 41% in 2018 which is above the African average of 34%.
Head of GCIC, Awel Uwihanganye said that they are committed in increasing access to information and data through Open government system.
In his keynote address, Mathias Kamp, the Country director for KAS Uganda and South Sudan thanked the Ministry of ICT and GCIC for being committed strategic partners in driving Uganda’s Open Government Agenda.
He added that Uganda’s democracy should not only be measured by ability to conduct regular, free and fair elections, but enabling space for citizen participation.
“Democracy is about day to day interactions between the citizens and their leaders. It is about consistent engagement to meet overall expectations and aspirations of the people. Democracy is about openness and transparency, being able to hold government institutions accountable, Kamp said.
GCICI operates under ICT ministry as a key contact center between government and citizens to enhance the monitoring of service delivery through use of interactive digital tools.