Wednesday, September 10, 2008

egovernment across South-East Asia - towards seamless integration

The Economist Intelligence Unit has published a special research report, Towards Seamless Administration (PDF), on the status and challenges of egovernment across South-East Asia, including commments on a number of Australia's nearest neighbours such as New Guinea, East Timor, Singapore and Malaysia.

While Australia and New Zealand are not included in the review, the maturity of egovernment across the region should be a consideration in our planning and thinking.

Just as Australia has provided an example of stable democratic governance and has assisted in the development and security of our neighbours, I believe we have an opportunity and a responsibility to support them in their progress towards more transparent, low-corruption and democratic regimes through the medium of egovernment.

Why Australia should take on a regional egovernment leadership
In my view there are sound economic, social and political reasons for Australia to take on a leadership and supportive role for regional egovernment.

By helping other nations along the road we will facilitate the participation of Australian companies and individuals in the region, both in business and IT spaces, rather than seeing another nation or group, such as the US, Singapore or the European Union take on such a role and diminish Australia's potential economic benefit.

A similar rationale holds for the political front. Australia has a national interest in having strong regional ties and a level of political influence and this could be weakened should other nations become the egovernment leaders, particularly as regional governments could be influenced towards structures and models less attuned to Australian interests. This could also impact on our regional security and agreements.

Finally, and most important to me personally, is the social rationale. Economic development and progress towards an open and fair democracy has been generally demonstrated to be more effective at reducing poverty, increasing freedoms and encouraging more respect for human rights than providing aid or political pressure.

eGovernment as an approach leads to more open and transparent government, lower corruption and more equitable participation, as well as being an underlying driver of economic development by cutting red tape for businesses and individuals.

Therefore by encouraging and supporting egovernment and the enablers for egovernment across the region, Australia will have a positive and non-invasive impact on the wellbeing of our nearest neighbour states.

How should Australia support regional egovernment initiatives?
I've considered three ways in which Australia could make an immediate impact.

1) Model development - showing the way through our local egovernment initiatives

2) Thought leadership - sharing our expertise (technical and business) to assist other nations in developing their egovernment capacity.

3) Regional integration - developing underlying egovernment systems and technologies that can be given or sold to other nations to be deployed to kickstart their egovernment programs. This could include regional epayment, ehealth and online forms capacities (expansions of the efforts by the Reserve Bank, Medicare Australia and AGOSP), or specialised systems developed for customs and border management, led by Customs or Immigration with the involvement of regional stakeholders. Other systems that could be explored for regional applications could include online consultation, collaboration and procurement (such as via GovDex or AusTenders), our online Copyright and Patents systems and many other systems at both state and federal level.

Even with a minimal investment, Australia could enable our neighbours to make significant steps forward in effective governance. 

All it requires is some political and public sector leadership in the area.

I'd be interested in other views on this, or any information on egovernment initiatives already underway with our neighbours.

1 comment:

  1. List of Philippine National Government Agencies (NGAs) With Short Messaging Service (SMS) Facility:

    1. Agricultural Training Institute
    2. Bureau of Internal Revenue
    3. Civil Service Commission
    4. Commission on Elections
    5. Commission on Filipinos Overseas
    6. Commission on Higher Education
    7. Department of Agriculture – OSEC
    Open Academy for Philippine Agriculture
    8. Department of Budget and Management - OSEC
    9. Department of Education - OSEC
    10. Department of Energy - OSEC
    11. Department of Environment and Natural Resources - OSEC
    12. Department of Health - OSEC
    13. Department of Labor and Employment – OSEC
    Bureau of Local Employment
    14. Department of Public Works and Highways – OSEC
    15. Department of Social Welfare and Development - OSEC
    16. Department of the Interior and Local Government - OSEC
    17. Department of Tourism - OSEC
    18. Department of Trade and Industry - OSEC
    19. Department of Transportation and Communications - OSEC
    20. Energy Regulatory Commission
    21. Government Service Insurance System
    22. Home Development Mutual Fund (PAG-IBIG)
    23. Laguna Lake Development Authority
    24. Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board
    25. Land Transportation Office
    26. Manila International Airport Authority
    27. Metropolitan Manila Development Authority
    28. National Disaster Coordinating Council
    29. National Electrification Administration
    30. National Food Authority
    31. National Maritime Polytechnic - DOTC
    32. National Meat Inspection Service
    33. National Police Commission
    34. National Youth Commission
    35. Office of the President/ Office of the Executive Secretary
    36. Office of the Press Secretary
    37. Overseas Workers Welfare Administration
    38. Palawan Council for Sustainable Development
    39. Philippine Air Force
    40. Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development
    41. Philippine Council for Aquatic Marine Research and Development
    42. Philippine Health Insurance Corporation
    43. Philippine National Construction Corporation
    44. Philippine National Police
    45. Philippine Navy
    46. Philippine Overseas Employment Administration
    47. Philippine Rice Research Institute
    48. Presidential Anti-Graft Commission
    49. Social Security System
    50. Technology Resource Center – GOCC